Minnesota Department of Transportation

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News Release

Oct. 4, 2019

Burial recovery completed at Mission Creek in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. — The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) and the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA), in consultation with the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, have notified MnDOT that burial recovery efforts at the historic Mission Creek cemetery located in the Fond du Lac neighborhood of Duluth have been completed.

In May 2017, MnDOT uncovered burial remains in the historic cemetery while excavating to replace the Mission Creek Bridge. Since that time, project partners and contractors have worked together to respectfully complete burial recovery efforts. In May 2019, the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa took the lead on recovery efforts, executing an aggressive work plan and doubling crew size from that of previous contractors.

As the work crew neared completion of recovery efforts, concerns were raised about the possibility of negatively impacting areas of the cemetery that were not part of the original disturbance. As a result, work was halted so that MIAC and OSA in consultation with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, could reassess the remaining workload and determine how to best move forward. Protecting the cemetery is important to all parties and after careful consideration it has been determined there is no need to conduct further burial recovery.

The next steps will be to return soils to the central cemetery slope, officially define the cemetery boundaries, and repatriate remains and burial related items. The agencies are also working with a landscape architect who will aid in development of the cemetery’s final design. Upon delineation of the final cemetery boundaries, MnDOT will restart the project development process to address the Mission Creek Bridge.

More Information: mndot.gov/d1/projects/hwy23-mission-creek.