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August 20, 2002; 18:03 CDT
MADISON, Wis. -- "After the discovery of a village believed to be between
800 to 1,500 years old, Native Americans are working with state
transportation officials to make sure the Highway 12 construction project
moves forward, while protecting the area's rich heritage.
Before the expansion project took place, officials knew there was a chance
it would uncover bits of the past.
"Well, there was a number of archaeological interests that we discovered,
but there was an inadvertent discovery of some human remains that we believe
are Native American remains, and at that point, when we discovered the
remains we stopped all work (and) protected the site," said Patrick Fernan,
District Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation.
So far, the expansion has discovered a 50-acre ancient village. Now, the DOT
and Native Americans are discussing how best to preserve and respect the
"I think the DOT is handling things to the best of their knowledge, working
with the tribes and the Native American groups that are at hand," said Art
Shegonee, from the Menomonee Tribe. "It's showing people we can work
One option discussed by both parties involves building a bridge around the
site. Whatever they choose in the end, transportation officials are learning
now the importance of working with a community when building a road.
"We're learning as a department that we have to do a better job of involving
the community," said Susan Fox, Environmental Analyst for WisDOT. "And that
means all different groups."
Copyright 2002 by Channel 3000.
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