Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation offered an update on their efforts to recover a historic cemetery in Fond Du Lac that was disturbed last summer during a road construction project.  The cemetery - along Highway 23 near Mission creek - was known to house human remains that are central to the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

In general, road work in the area has been halted - as officials work together to determine the boundaries of the cemetery.  At the same time, flood concerns from residents in the Fond Du Lac neighborhood has also been addressed; MNDOT has stationed a backhoe at the site to remove debris that might potentially clog the Highway 23 bridge; during the recent heavy rain storm (June 15-June 17, 2018) this system was utilized to maintain that the river water continued to flow without back-ups.

In regards to the cemetery issue, the following tasks have been completed since work on the roadway was halted last year:

  • 24/7 security and fencing has been provided at the site.
  • Stockpiles of material from the cemetery have been protected from the elements.
  • The soil around the graves in the cemetery area has been stabilized to prevent further impacts to graves.
  • Utilities and access for residents in the neighborhood have been restored to a point where year-round access can be provided.
  • Erosion control has been established.
  • A temporary pedestrian and bicycle route has been established around the project area.
  • Processes have been established to recover the cemetery material.
  • Approximately 20 percent of the cemetery material that was disturbed has been processed to recover human remains, grave goods and other artifacts.
  • An archeological survey of the project area has been completed to help define where the cemetery is and where it is not.
  • Data has been collected to further define the boundaries of the known cemetery area.
  • A shelter has been constructed to allow cemetery recovery activities to occur during inclement weather.

Additional information about this project is available by clicking here.