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Home Working with Section 106 ACHP Case Digest Fall 2004 South Dakota: Widening of Route 4, Crow Creek Reservation, Buffalo County
South Dakota: Widening of Route 4, Crow Creek Reservation, Buffalo County
Agency: Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is planning to reconstruct an eight-mile section of Route 4 within the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. In 1997, the agency notified the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) of its construction plan and the expectation that historic sites would be affected by the construction.
Crow Creek National Historic Landmark, Buffalo County, South Dakota (photo: NPS)
Earlier this year, however, BIA submitted an archeological data recovery report to the SHPO with a finding of no historic properties affected. Absent intervening consultation, the SHPO requested that the ACHP investigate this matter.
Archeological investigation identified 10 archeological sites within the vicinity of the construction project. Several of these sites are associated with a previously identified archeological district and a National Historic Landmark. It is unclear what the sites precise affiliation is, if any, with these properties.
BIA carried out archaeological data recovery at three sites before it resolved National Register-eligibility issues, reached a finding of either adverse effect or no adverse effect on historic properties, or consulted to develop mitigation measures with the State Historic Preservation Officer, the ACHP, or other consulting parties.
In addition, outside reports say that the sites archeological investigation exposed hundreds of skeletal remains in storage pits at three Plains Village occupations. It is suspected that the three sites date to early contact between members of the Three Affiliated Tribes and European Americans, and may represent the decimation of the local population from an introduced disease such as smallpox.
BIA reports that it consulted with the Crow Creek and Three Affiliated Tribes about appropriate procedures to remove and reinter the human remains. The person who BIA identifies as its Three Affiliated Tribes contact in this matter denies any contact, approval, or knowledge of the agencys actions.
Meanwhile, the ACHP is reviewing the case as a possible foreclosure of its opportunity to comment on the projects effects on historic properties, as outlined in the Section 106 process.
Staff contact: Alan Stanfill
Posted December 17, 2004
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