Community Presbyterian Church of Lac du Flambeau says it has “not taken any position” on burial site found under parking lot
In August, the Lac du Flambeau Tribe announced survey results at the Community Presbyterian Church of Lac du Flambeau showed there may be multiple graves beneath the paved parking lot.
In a news release posted to the Tribe’s Facebook page last Friday, the Tribe said, “The Tribe is working with the Church to restore the final resting places of our ancestors to the respectful setting all people would expect for their loved ones. The Church has agreed to remove the building currently housing the Attic resale shop and to replace part of the church parking lot to create a grassy area more appropriate for our ancestors’ final resting places.”
But the church says it hasn’t agreed to anything.
It says the Tribe told the church it would be demolishing the building with the Attic on October 16. And told the church to remove any times from the building it wanted to keep.
In a press release of its own on Monday evening, the Session of The Community Presbyterian Church Governing Body says it has, “not taken any position on the matter and will not do so until it has a chance to review and have independently evaluated the results of the GPR scans and soil testing done by the companies the Tribe hired to do that work.”
The church says it has requested the scans and soil tests along with any evidence that shows there are one or more graves of tribal members under the Attic building or parking lot.
According to the church, the Attic building was built in 2001 with consent from the Tribe and with a Tribal representative on-site to ensure that no graves in the adjacent cemetery were disturbed during the building process.
In its statement, the Church said it “is respectful of the Tribe’s concerns and wants to cooperate fully in determining if the graves of any tribal members exist under the parking lot or The Attic.”
The church’s treasurer told WXPR the Church has requested a face-to-face meeting with the Tribe and wants to work with them. He also said the church is on tribal land with a lease agreement that the church can use it as long as it remains a church.
Burial sites are protected by federal law. WXPR is working to figure out how they apply in this situation.
WXPR reached out to the Lac du Flambeau Tribe’s media relations person on Tuesday morning in regard to the church’s statement but had gotten no response as of late Tuesday evening.
We’ll update you as we learn more information.