Native leaders applaud recommendations to reroute Indian Mounds Park trails to respect burial sites

Some neighbors push back; public meeting set for Monday

A recent cultural landscape survey of Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul indicates that burial features spread further out from the mounds than originally thought. The city of St. Paul plans to redo the existing trail system, a plan approved by indigenous leaders who want to protect and honor the sacred site. Some neighbors oppose the plan, saying they don’t want to lose the trail system’s current views.

A public meeting is planned for Monday, July 22, 5 p.m. at Marian Care Center, 200 Earl St., St. Paul. There will be a light meal from 5-5:30 p.m. followed by a listening session. “The purpose of the listening session is to understand the cultural significance of the site and build common ground for an approach toward long-term management and future land use of the park,” according to one flyer.

Two of the mounds in Indian Mounds Park, St. Paul. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

A Facebook Post by Maggie Lorenz, director of the Wakan Tipi Center in St. Paul and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, says:

Recommendations from the State Historical Preservation Office, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices at Prairie Island, Shakopee, Upper Sioux and Lower Sioux ALL determined that certain sections of the trail system in the park should be removed.

A Star Tribune story that ran today explains the planned redesign and some of the reaction:

Plans now route most of the trail along Mounds Boulevard, far to the east of the bluff and mound area, with a couple of trail spurs for bluff access.

Neighbors who savor strolling along the bluff and through and among grass-covered mounds ringed by wrought iron fences aren’t happy. …

The story also cited Franky Jackson, compliance officer with the Prairie Island Indian Community: “In our community, Indian Mounds Park is a cemetery and should be treated as one,” he said.

For more background, here is the city of St. Paul’s website for Indian Mounds Regional Park Cultural Landscape Study and Interpretive Plan.

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