(KCPW News) The leaders of Utah’s five tribes have signed a resolution against building a Frontrunner stop on land near a 3,000 year old American Indian village they consider a sacred site. The resolution urges additional surveys of the site to determine if more artifacts are there. Bruce Parry, Chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, says the proposed station would likely harm those artifacts.
“And so without a complete inventory of those archaeological resources, we feel it’s pretty imperative that the whole area be protected until every ounce of that area has been gone over to see where the archaeological site really is,” Parry says.
The land was approved for conservation as open space in a bill passed by the Legislature in 2000, which Parry says the tribes unanimously supported. But the deal has never been finalized. Then this winter, lawmakers approved a land swap proposed by the Utah Transit Authority to instead build a transit stop and housing development on the site, even though the agency had already selected a different location for it. UTA has not finalized the location.
Paiute Chairwoman Jeanine Borchardt says it will benefit everyone if the UTA doesn’t build the transit line near the ancient artifacts.
“If this line goes through, we’re going to be destroying a lot of history. And this history is the history of Utah,” Borchardt says. “And without this history, we wouldn’t know who we are or where we came from, none of us.”
The tribes met with Governor Jon Huntsman about the transit line a month ago, asking to be included in future archaeological consultations about the site. The tribes plan to deliver the resolution to Huntsman’s future replacement, Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert, who has asked to meet with all the parties involved in the dispute.