On August 31, members of the Ho-Chunk tribal court and other elders sent a letter to EPA’s Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, stating their belief that the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Assessment involving the sacred site known as Eagle Rock, omitted key considerations.
They contend that the consultation process should have involved all Chippewa tribes, not just the Lake Superior group, and that it should have taken into consideration the significance of the site to indigenous peoples who occupied the region before the Chippewa.
A 2010 Resolution adopted by the National Council of American Indians notes that “Eagle Rock has been linked to ancient ceremonial sites in Wisconsin and Montana by local tribal history and more recently by exhaustive research and on-site surveys…”
The letter also states that the Act was not properly administered by the Michigan DEQ, since the State regulatory agency determined that Eagle Rock was not a place of worship because it did not have a building on it.
Administrative Law Judge Richard Patterson ruled in August of 2009 that both Kennecott and the MDEQ “did not properly address the impact on the sacred rock outcrop known as Eagle Rock,” further stating that “the excavation and drilling in the immediate area of Eagle Rock and fencing it off will materially affect its use as a place of worship. This should in some manner be accommodated, and would best be done so by relocating the access to the mine to a location that will not interfere with that function.”
Ignoring both federal law and the judge’s recommendations, the DEQ decided that Eagle Rock did not constitute a place of worship and that Kennecott could retain its plan to blast beneath the outcrop.
Members of the Ho-Chunk Nation are requesting that EPA require full compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act in regard to Eagle Rock.
The situation is urgent, since blasting may begin as soon as September 14 and the portal/tunnel for the proposed Kennecott Eagle Mine will go directly through the base of the Rock.
To read the letter, please click here: Ho Chunk letter re Eagle Rock
NCAI Resolution #ABQ-10-078: Eagle Rock Resolution, NCAI