Burial mound testing postponed at Racine cemetery
- Associated Press
- October 5, 2013 - 12:35 PM
RACINE, Wis. — Plans to examine whether an American Indian burial mound exists in a parcel of land at Mound Cemetery have been put on hold for now, after scientists who planned to take soil borings Friday at the southeastern Wisconsin site were greeted by opponents who called for a less-invasive form of testing.
That came as good news to Burlington resident Theresa Siedel, who said she is Lanape-Seneca-Catawba and Mackinaw-Chippewa.
"Native people in the area are coming together and saying, 'Slow down, stop,'" Siedel said.
The Journal Times reported (http://bit.ly/GEBi28 ) that the team, led by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee archaeologist Tom Zych, has a permit, but is going to talk with the state to see if other measures can be taken before proceeding.
Last month, the Racine City Council voted to give owners of a local funeral home permission to purchase the parcel for family burial plots, as long as they paid to make sure the land wasn't an uncataloged burial mound.
Alderwoman Sandy Weidner, a member of the city's Board of Cemetery Commissioners, said a 1903 map of the cemetery shows a mound is located on the parcel. But the Wisconsin Historical Society does not have a record of a cataloged mound at that site.
Duke Meredith, whose family owns Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home in Racine, said if there is a burial mound at this parcel, the testing would allow for it to be cataloged and properly preserved. If not, the family could go forward with their offer to purchase the land.
"If this particular parcel of land is an Indian burial mound, we unequivocally do not want to pursue purchasing graves in this location," a written from the Meredith family read. "Rather this area should be given its due honor and respect."
Mayor John Dickert said if the Meredith family still wants the parcel, the city will go forward with testing.
"We are going to continue ahead on this," he said. "The family has agreed to do everything humanly possible to find out to the greatest extent possible whether this is a burial site or not . ... These people stopped them from doing the exact thing they asked them to do, which is to find out."
© 2013 Star Tribune