LETTER ON GRAVE STATUS- August 19, 1926
Hayward Indian School
TO: Father Philip Gordon
My Dear Father Gordon:
In reply to your inquires of August 3rd, I would advise that
approximately 100 body have been removed from the Catholic Cemetery at
Old Post, and as far as I know the removal was satisfactory to the Indians
concerned. Just how many graves remain in the cemetery I cannot say, but
would estimate that there are between 250 and 300. There are a few
signed releases for the removal of possibly 10 or 15 additional graves,
which work will be done this fall. As to the balance I see no prospect
of having them moved. The matter rests entirely with the Indians, so far
as the Catholic cemetery is concerned.
I am unaware of any time limit as to the removal of these graves, but I do know that the Company has served notice on Mr. Worman and Mr. Thayer that they contemplated canceling the contract for this work on December 31, 1926.
In reference to the George James incident I would state that Worman and Thayer were removing the bodies from the cemetery to the New Post village and in doing so they crossed the allotment of Oquagon 5th, in which he as an undivided 1/5th interest, over a roadway used a long time by the public. His attitude and actions in the matter prompted me in having Henry Thayer, Indian Policeman, bring him into my office. The matter however was finally adjusted by confining the transportation of bodies over lands covered by the Power Company’s deeds for flowage rights. It is a matter of sincere regret on my part that the question of these graves in the Catholic cemetery has not been disposed of. From information, which I have received it appears that certain parties are encouraging Indians to hold out for a prospective suit for damages in reference to these graves. It appears to me that the exhumation and reinterring of these bodies, without any expense to the Indians, should have been whole-heartedly supported by all persons interested. I fear very much that the attitude of some of the Indians, with reference to the remains of their deceased relatives may be construed as a satisfaction of that part of the license referring to the graves. It would appear that the passive attitude of the Indians in this matter indicates a satisfactory settlement.
Complying with your request I am enclosing herewith all the papers furnished me by Mr. Oliver M. Olson.
My delay in replying to your inquiry was caused by my absence from the office during a greater part of this period.
Very truly yours,