Tribal effort to preserve historic site delayed

What's happening: A Wisconsin tribe will have to try again to include land in the National Register of Historic Places after the tribe’s permit was initially rejected. The land in question is also, in part, the site of a proposed polymetallic mine. The land is roughly five square miles in Menominee County, just west of Stephenson, on an area called the Back Forty. The Colorado and Mexican-based Gold Resources Corporation has complete mining interest in the available gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc on the property.

If the tribe is successful, the proposed mine would be cut in half, with roughly 3,200 acres being preserved. While the denial is not a full rejection of the national designation, it does further delay the decision. NPS officials said that the application was not detailed enough to be considered properly.

Why is this important: On February 21, 2023, the Menominee Indian Tribe applied to have the proposed mining area listed as a historical preservation site. Tribal members call the area “Anaem Omot,” which translates to “Dog’s Belly,” and is near archeological remains of indigenous burial mounds, dance circles and ancient agricultural evidence. Historians for the tribe say indigenous activity in the area dates back to the last Ice Age and is one of the earliest areas of human settlement in the Upper Peninsula.

What they're saying: “There were technical issues with maps on identifying which sites and features contributed to which criterion and other minor formatting issues,” Maria Cavins, a spokesperson for the National Park Service wrote in an email to MLive. “These technical revisions will require coordination between the two nominating authorities.”

What's next: The application will go through further technical reviews with state historic preservation offices of Michigan and Wisconsin. The two offices jointly applied with the Menominee Tribe for the designation in December 2022. There is no timeline for resubmission, with roughly 73.8 percent of returned applications resubmitted with NPS.
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