August 12, 2014
A Wisconsin judge has rejected a request by Wingra Redi-Mix to mine for sand and gravel beneath Native American burial mounds.
The judge ruled that the mounds are not available to the public, despite Wingra claiming there is $10 million worth of minerals beneath them.
The mounds were unprotected until 1986 when a state law gave the director of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin the authority to preserve burial sites. These mounds were declared a burial site in 1990.
Wingra has owned the site since 1962 and argues that there is no evidence of human remains beneath the mounds.
Dane County Circuit Judge Ellen Berz says that the law is to protect places where human remains are buried or are likely to be buried.
“This purpose reflects our society’s great value for human dignity, respect for our deceased and sanctity of their burial sites,” Berz wrote. “The legislature specifically pointed to prehistoric human burial sites as needing the protection of (the law), thereby clarifying that human remains at any state of decomposition, including the final state, are to be protected.”