Serving as a representative for the Bakke community in the Bakke, Hickson, Oxbow ringdike proposal, there are several meetings to attend where various aspects of the proposed $65 million dollar ring dike is being discussed.
One of those areas is cultural studies, wherein, the Corps has related agencies conducting site surveys along the proposed path and areas that would be impacted by the construction of a rink dike and storage ponds in and around the communities.
This is not a racial thing. Native American Indians were treated very poorly by the federal government and due reverence is in order for preserving any historical sites wherein ancestors traveled, camped, lived and died along the travel routes that in many ways followed the natural water ways across our nation.
I completely understand and support the preservation of these sites, however, it does present a fair question of why the Fargo Diversion Authority and Corps of Engineers does not observe all burial sites and history “equally” that are unique to western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota regions affected by Fargo’s land grab development of the last natural flood plain adjacent to the city?
Desecration is defined as: “the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.”
Jack Howser of Disclosure News Online wrote a rather frank article titled “A sad, sad tale of a burial gone bad”. < Read Article It chronicles a terrible tale of how a deceased person was tossed about in their casket like a toy in Colorado.
Where is the respect and reverence for all historical ancestors and settlers of North Dakota and their family lineages that have been born, lived, died and are laid to rest in the sanctity of these burial areas that would be willfully flooded as a result of greed.
Imagine the uproar that would ensue if Fargo developers crassly set their development sites on the cemeteries that exist internally within Fargo. Then ask yourself why it would be acceptable to desecrate cemeteries to facilitate Fargo’s land grab for the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion?
If it were not for the formation of the Upstream Cemetery Authority, one does have to question whether on not the Fargo Diversion Authority or the U.S. Corps of Engineers would have given any regard to those interred in the cemeteries that will be impacted.
The potential for graves to surface, headstones to be toppled or damaged, destruction of fences or trees… just to name a few. While the Fargo Diversion Authority may argue these would be due to natural causes, most if not all impacts would be as a result of a man made containment of water for the primary purpose of Fargo’s encroachment into the natural flood plain.
• Who will pay for impacts like these?
• How long will it take to address damages like these?
• What red-tape will be created and why should cemetery boards be obligated to volunteer
more hours as a result of a land grab that represents the bigotry of the
Fargo Diversion Authority agenda?
Listen to Keith Berndt, Darrell Vanyo and Tom O’Harra comments regarding cemeteries:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Aside from Keith Berndt’s disingenuous cemetery example located four miles north of the proposed diversion outlet and 37 miles north of the first impacted cemetery of the proposed dam and staging reservoir…, this is completely backward thinking by Cass County, the Fargo Diversion Authority and the Corps… These are vital issues that should have been addressed at the formulation of this project rather than an attempt to marginalize the sanctity of the burial sites after the fact.
Another concern is health related. Over time burial practices have changed, largely in how a body is prepared for burial and interred. As settlers came to this area, death came from a variety of causes. 75 percent of North Dakota’s reported Anthrax cases since 1989 occurred in the Sheyenne, Wild Rice and Red River Valley. According to the CDC the annual incidence of human anthrax declined from approximately 200 cases in the early 1900s to no human cases since 1992 until August 19, 2000, when a 67-year-old resident of eastern North Dakota participated in the disposal of five cows that had died of anthrax. Some of North Dakota’s earlier settlers fell victim to contagious diseases wherein homes and areas of communities were quarantined. How can the Fargo Diversion Authority ensure 100 percent of the graves of those that succumb to smallpox, diphtheria, typhoid, tuberculosis or other contagious diseases be safely exhumed and transported without the cocktail of biological concerns and years of decomposition to contend with?
As per usual, very little forethought on the part of the Fargo Diversion Authority obsessed by greed for growth and too little regard given to the lives of those they will be affecting.
One would hope that Heidi Heitkamp, John Hoeven, Kevin Kramer, Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and Colin Peterson would intecede and ensure that oversight is brought to bear on the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion and the sanctity of North Dakotas historical burial areas is preserved.
Use the following form to submit your concerns to your congressional delegation
via the Upstream Cemetery Authority.