Fond du Lac Band obtains support to regain the Superior’s burial sites
The Wisconsin Burial Sites Preservation Board approved the request on Friday, September 17.
“The band has been trying to have the cemetery bear our name for some time,” said Kevin DuPuis, president of Fond du Lac, who also requested a letter of support to put the land in trust on behalf of Fond du Lac. .
Councilor Jenny Van Sickle initiated the effort to return the burial sites on Wisconsin Point and adjacent to the Nemadji River in trust for the Fond du Lac Band. In July, the city council asked the city administration to work in this direction.
“I am very supportive of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and this request,” said David Grignon, Preservation Council member. “Bringing our ancestors home is quite an experience. There is no such thing.”
PREVIOUSLY: The Board of Governors supports the return of burial sites to the Fond du Lac band
Grignon tabled a motion to approve the request to add the Fond du Lac band to the Register of Interested Persons, which received unanimous support.
Then the panel discussed the advisability of supporting the land transfer that should take place.
“With the way things have gone, it’s always good to have that support,” said DuPuis.
This week, Van Sickle said, she will work with the city’s planning director to develop a waiver for the Wisconsin Point site to transfer the land there, and work is underway to develop the Deed of Waiver with St. Francis transferring the Nemadji River mass grave to band ownership.
She said this would put the land in royalty and that the letter is essential to place it in trust with the Office of Indian Affairs of the United States Department of the Interior on behalf of the band.
Jennifer Haas, a burial site preservation board member, said she believed the project was a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s wonderful what you’ve been able to accomplish, and it’s a direction in which our state as a whole should move,” she said. “I would love to have the opportunity to present to a forum how this was accomplished.”
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is hosting the Midwest Archaeological Conference next year, said Katherine Stevenson, burial site preservation council member. She said that it was discussed to try to encourage indigenous peoples to get involved and that the effort to return the burial sites to the Fond du Lac band would be an excellent topic for that.
With issues such as the bodies of native people found in residential schools and what happened in Wisconsin Point, DuPuis said there would come a time when the band only had to bring their people home to the closure.
“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past – good, bad or indifferent – it’s all in our laps today… it’s all up to us to sort it out,” said DuPuis.