Quapaw leaders and state officials appear to have reached an amicable solution to the presence of artifacts at the proposed location of the $1.1 billion dollar Big River Steel Mill. The site in eastern Arkansas contains a burial mound, a village with 14 structures, and numerous other artifacts. The news came after a closed meeting Wednesday in Osceola.
John Berrey, Chair of the Business Committee for the Quapaw, says he was pleased that state officials share his concerns.
“They’ve agreed to us to fence it off. They’re allowing us to have an observer during the dirt and construction, the dirt moving. They’ve agreed that any inadvertent or accidental discovery of anything outside of what is known they’ll call us and let us document it, protect it, and either try to avoid it or relocate it. So, that’s as good as we could ask for,” said Berrey.
He says much of the discoveries are on the periphery of the construction site and should not be affected and that any future discoveries will be dealt with as they emerge.
“You know, I don’t know. I think that’s the future, we’ll just kinda cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now we’re just going home very happy and very satisfied and we feel like we’ve made some new partners in preserving our history,” said Berrey.
Some of the larger finds, like a burial mound and remnants of a village are on private land and may be maintained, though it’s unclear who would provide the costs and supervision.