LETER ON GRAVE REMOVAL - July 3, 1923
Hayward Indian School
July 3, 1923
TO: The Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Dear Mr. Commissioner:
With reference to Office telegram of June 27, 1923 referring
to the overflowing certain graves supposed to be within the flowage area
of the Chippewa Reservoir of the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Company,
and my reply to Office telegram of June 28, 1923, your office is further
revised that the following telegram was sent to Bishop Joseph G. Pinten
of Superior, Wisconsin, but to date no reply has been received:
“Bishop Joseph G. Pinten, Superior, Wisconsin… The Indian Office has been advised by someone unknown, that the water is reaching graves in the Catholic cemetery, at Old Post and I am today instructed by the Office to insist that the Power Company remove such graves. The deed executed by Oja wash ko ge gi jig, Jr. conveying this cemetery site to yourself was approved by the Department on June 19th. It would now seem that further negotiations should be carried on between the Power Company and yourself. Indians are insisting that the graves be moved. Advise me by wire of action contemplated by you.”
The deed executed by Oja wash ko ge gi jig, Jr. conveying title to Bishop Joseph G. Pinten to the cemetery site in question was approved by the Department on June 19, 1923 and it would appear that any negotiation regarding the removal of the graves from this cemetery should be carried on between Bishop Pinten and the Power Company.
The Indians who have relatives who are interred in this cemetery are very anxious that the remains be removed to some other location, but Bishop Pinten has already protested against the removal of any grave from this cemetery. The water has at this time has reached a level somewhat higher than the coffins within a number of these graves and it would probably be a difficult to remove them so long as the water level remains at its present height and therefore it would be proper that such removal be held up until the water level is lowered to a point below the coffins. This is a matter however that will probably be thrashed out between the Power Company and Bishop Pinten and probably will not considered further by your Office.
I have also taken this matter up with the Chief Engineer of the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Company and he advises me that they are willing to comply the provisions of the license, which has been granted by the Federal Power Commission regarding the removal of graves, but that the provisions of the license calls for the removal of graves from tribal lands and does not refer to removal of graves from private lands and it will be the contention of the Chief Engineer that they are now under no obligation to remove graves within the Catholic Cemetery.
Under the date of June 7th your Office was requested to advise me so to the proper interpretation of Article 15 of the license granted to the Wisconsin-Minnesota Light and Power Company to the construct the reservoir by the Federal Power Commission, which article refers to the removal of the graves but to date no reply has been received to this request, but I would infer from the Office wire of June 27th that when the water reaches the level of the coffins that the Company will at that time be required to remove all such graves.
The foregoing is respectfully submitted for the consideration of your Office.
Very truly yours
Byron A. Sharp