State kept Seneca tribes in the dark about reburial of remains

The American Rock Salt procures all of its rock salt from a mine near a historic Seneca village in New York. Photo from ARS

The state of New York has kept the Seneca Nation and the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians in the dark for nearly 20 years about the reburial of ancestral remains from a mining site.

Up until a meeting last week, the tribes never knew where the remains were reburied and how they were being protected, The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported. They also were never informed that artifacts removed from the mining site in the late 1990s were sent to the Rochester Museum & Science Center for study.

The tribes are now upset that the state Department of Environmental Conservation has approved a permit to expand the mining operation. It's located near the confluence of the Genesee River and Canaseraga Creek, where a Seneca village once stood.

"That is an archaeologically sensitive area with a high potential of finding burials of our ancestors," Christine Abrams of the Tonawanda Band told the paper.

American Rock Salt wants to be extend a rail line at the site in order to ship more rock salt for the winter season. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has to weigh in on the permit before work can begin.

Get the Story:
Salt mine rail extension concerns Senecas (The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 9/23)

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