Wisconsin DOT secretary apologizes for disturbing graves 50 years ago

Odanah, Wisconsin (AP) May 2010

Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation secretary has issued a formal apology to the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for a highway project that disturbed their ancestors’ graves 50 years ago.

The decades-old apology came May 24 from Secretary Frank Busalacchi at the Bad River Pow-Wow grounds in Odanah. Busalacchi also said the transportation department has been working with tribal historic preservation officials for nearly five years to establish a policy that protects cultural heritage. He hopes to institute the transportation policy by the end of the year.

A 1960 Highway 2 remodeling project inadvertently disturbed Native American graves at a roadside cemetery near the Bad River bridge. Tribal officials say members attempted to stop the construction, but were not successful.

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