Tribe: Wind farm no threat to Ohio burial mound

By Lisa Cornwell
Cincinnati, Ohio (AP) September 2010

Shawnee tribe now believes construction of a commercial wind farm in western Ohio will not threaten an ancient burial mound, a tribe elder said during September.

The Alabama-based Piqua Shawnee tribe said last year that it feared construction of the Buckeye Wind Farm near Urbana, about 80 miles northeast of Cincinnati, would destroy the tree-covered mound. While there is no marker designating the mound as an Indian burial site, the tribe has said it is convinced the mound was built by ancestors of the Shawnee and used for burial.

Gene Park, a tribe elder, said Tuesday he was reassured that the mound would not be harmed after viewing EverPower Wind Holdings Inc.’s plans for its Buckeye Wind Farm in Champaign County.

“I’ve talked to the company and reviewed their construction plans and a cultural archaeological survey,” said Park, an agent for the tribe in Ohio who intends to monitor the construction.

The New York City-based EverPower Wind Holdings remains committed to preserving cultural and historical resources within its farms’ boundaries, Michael Speerschneider, the company’s director of government affairs and permitting, said in a statement.

The company owns and operates large-scale wind farms and sells electricity from those farms to local utilities. It expects to complete the Champaign County farm next year. The nearest turbine will be about 900 feet from the mound and will not affect it, the company has said.

The mound measures about 1,500 feet north to south, 600 feet from east to west and is about 90 feet high, according to officials with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society.

The Piqua Shawnee are officially recognized by the state of Alabama as a tribe. The tribe also has members living in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.