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17 October 2009
Tribe wants Ohio mound protected from wind farm

An Indian tribe says plans to build a commercial wind farm in western Ohio (USA) pose a threat to an ancient burial mound and the state should put a barrier around it to keep it from being disturbed. The Piqua Shawnee Tribe asked that the mound be protected in a motion it filed with the Ohio Power Siting Board regarding EverPower Wind Holdings Inc.'s proposal to build the 70-turbine farm near Urbana.
     Gene Park, an elder of the Alabama-based Shawnees and an agent for the tribe in Ohio, said there are six Indian mounds in the Urbana area that were constructed thousands of years ago by the Shawnee's ancestors. One of the mounds is on the site proposed for the wind farm, Park said. He said he identified it based on a book published in 1914 by the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society.
"I went up and checked it out, and it was the exact site as indicated," Park said. "It's a humongous mound, and it's covered with trees."
     Park said there is no marker designating the mound as an Indian burial site, and some people believe it is simply a glacial deposit. However, he said the tribe is convinced it is a burial mound, and people who live nearby tell him that artifacts have been discovered there over the past 30 years. "Nobody said anything about any bones, but we know they are there," Park said. He said the tribe plans to further research the matter and present its findings to the board later this month.
     Michael Speerschneider, director of development for EverPower, said the company has looked at all the known archaeological resources in the area. "We feel like we've taken care to identify those structures and avoid them. We understand and respect those resources," Speerschneider said. "We are aware of a mound in that area. We don't have any plans to disturb that mound." A few hundred acres of land will be disturbed by construction of the turbines, which will be up to 490 feet tall.
     Park said he is concerned that the mound will be destroyed by construction of the wind farm. "I'm not upset about turbines, but they dig great big holes and pour concrete. They have to have an enormous amount of concrete," Park said. They are going to have earth-movers messing the whole place up." Park said the tribe wants the state to erect some sort of barrier around the mound to protect it.

Sources: Associated Press, MSN (12 October 2009)

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