Protesters traveling from Prairie du Chien to Madison for effigy mound protection

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A group from the Prairie du Chien area plans to travel to Madison on Tuesday, Jan. 12, to protest a bill that would lift protections on some historic effigy mounds. Concerned citizens are invited to join this “attempt to save Native American burial mounds from further destruction,” according to Prairie du Chien resident Ericka Stubbs. The group will leave Driftless Edibles at 10 a.m. Tuesday for Madison.

According to a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinal article, “landowners could excavate and possibly develop some of the surviving Indian mounds of Wisconsin—many dating back more than a millennium—under legislation by two lawmakers.

“The bill from Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Robert Brooks (R-Saukville) would shift the balance of state law more toward private property rights and away from the preservation of one of the state’s unusual features.

“It’s been estimated that 80 percent (of the burial mounds) were plowed under or otherwise destroyed to make way for farms and buildings, and those remaining sites that are cataloged are protected from disturbance by state law.

“Under the draft measure, the Wisconsin Historical Society would be required to give property owners a permit allowing them to investigate at their own expense whether their mounds contain burial remains. If the mounds contained no remains, landowners could use their property however they wished.

“The leaders of the Ho-Chunk Nation count the mound builders as ancestors of their tribe and they have launched a website to counter the bill as well as planned a rally at the Capitol on Jan. 12.

“Going forward, the Historical Society would also only be able to catalog and protect effigy mound sites that can be demonstrated to contain human remains.”

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