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Daschle: Missouri River plan ignores sacred sites
Tuesday, March 2, 2004

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday released a draft of its operations plans for Missouri River dams and reservoirs. Public comments are due between March 5 and March 19.

The system was created by uprooting several tribes. Prime agricultural and residential lands in North and South Dakota were flooded, along with important sacred sites and burial grounds. Many tribes complain that the Army Corps has failed to protect these sites.

Sen. Tom Daschle, Democrat of South Dakota, said the "Master Manual" indicates more sites will be damaged. But he said the Army Corps doesn't plan to do anything about it.

"Once again, the Corps of Engineers and the Bush administration have ignored the thousands of sacred Native American sites along the Missouri River," said Daschle. "Rather than include meaningful changes to ensure equitable management of the Missouri River and protection of culturally sensitive areas, the Master Manual simply offers to maintain the status quo."

Thousands of burial grounds and other sacred sites are located on the banks of the Missouri River. In one case, the Army Corps failed to relocate a Yankton Sioux cemetery that was later damaged by flooding waters. In another, the Army Corps allowed the state of South Dakota moved Yankton Sioux ancestors without consulting the tribe.

"We need a Master Manual that offers concrete proposals to preserve sacred sites. Simply acknowledging the existence of this problem is not enough," Daschle said.

Relevant Documents:
Corps releases Missouri River 2004 Annual Operating Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement, and Draft Revised Master Manual (USACE)

Related Stories:
Senate committee takes up Missouri River plan (10/16)
Army Corps still resisting Missouri River order (08/06)
'They're not going to put Donald Rumsfeld in jail' (07/24)
Judge holds Army Corps in contempt on river flows (7/23)
Yankton Sioux remains reburied along Missouri River (07/09)
Special master to oversee Yankton reburial (06/13)
Testimony continues in S.D. burial site case (05/28)
Judge hears dispute over Yankton Sioux remains (5/19)
S.D. asks court to hold tribal members in contempt (5/15)
Work halted at Missouri River burial site (5/14)
Yankton Sioux protest work at burial site (5/13)
Additional remains uncovered at Missouri River site (05/08)
Judge allows some work at S.D. burial site (04/22)
Editorial: Solutions needed on burial site (07/02)
Judge: S.D. tribe not consulted (7/1)
S.D. grave protection uneven (6/24)
Editorial: 'Offensive' stance on remains (6/17)
Sacred site protection topic of debate (6/13)
Judge halts work at S.D. site (6/12)
Judge refuses to dismiss burial lawsuit (6/11)
Tribal members insulted at hearing (6/10)
Hearing scheduled on Sioux remains (6/7)
S.D. tribe files suit over remains (6/6)
State admits moving tribal ancestors (6/5)

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