-- As archaeologists decide what to do about a newly discovered
American Indian burial ground near Pemberton Park, some members
of Lower Shore tribes are weighing how to best preserve the memories
of their ancestors.
Tuesday, construction crews discovered human remains believed to
be members of a former American Indian tribe, according to Salisbury
Otter, lead archaeologist on the site, said construction of the
house where the remains were found has been stopped while state
officials and local American Indian groups decide what should happen
to the burial ground.
have to be sensitive to the desires of the Native Americans,"
declined to comment further on the project.
Winterhawk, the chief and tribal chairman of the Nause-Waiwash Band
of Indian People, said Thursday that he has already been in contact
with the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs.
are going on," he said.
said his tribe is the remnants of Monie Indians who lived on the
Lower Shore but fled south to the marshes in the early 1700s.
just hoping people will be respectful enough not to go on the site
until we have discussed our course of action," he said. "There
are people out there who collect things, and I have seen sites like
this before where people have disturbed the site and removed relics."
Clark, a Nanticoke Indian from Sussex County, said Thursday that
discoveries such as the one near Pemberton Park always draw several
different groups, ranging from scientists to people representing
American Indian interests.
this happens it's like a button has been pushed and the machine
starts," he said.
federal and state laws can protect sites when public construction
is involved, Clark said private development is different. "When
it's private it's up to the conscience of the individual,"
Trader of the Coalition to Protect Maryland Burial Sites said Thursday
that Wicomico County ordinances do not protect historical burial
is no requirement in the zoning ordinance requiring work to stop
to allow documentation and research," he said. "It's something
I've been trying to get changed for over five years."
also said the Maryland Historical Trust is alerted when such a site
the property owner gives permission they can explore the site,"
he said. "(American) Indians have some federal protection for
their burial sites and the state programs are usually patterned
until Wicomico County officials change their attitude about historical
discovery, Trader said, fewer sites are going to be available to
Miller, director of the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva
History & Culture at Salisbury University, said she has been
following the discovery closely.
they excavate the site we might be able to get custody of some artifacts,"
shards, weapons and tools would make great additions to the facilities
display, but Miller said she respects leaving things as they are.
the Lower Shore there are many Indian burial sites, but people don't
know about them and they shouldn't," she said. "Those
sites shouldn't be disturbed. It's hallowed ground."
growing development on the Lower Shore, Clark said it is inevitable
that people will find more remains, something that American Indians
never considered hundreds of years ago.
these people were buried, it was never intended to have their graves
desecrated," he said.