Friday, January 18, 2008

Historical Site Damage At Pabst Farms Echos Earlier Destruction

Call this chapter IX in our continuing series, The Road To Sprawlville:

Rare Native American effigy mounds, some in the shape of panthers, have been damaged at Pabst Farms, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Turns out it's not the first time this has happened out Waukesha way. More on that in a few paragraphs.

In the march towards Progress that has moved the economy west on the Interstate Highway across the region - - and in the case of Pabst Farms, turned 1,500 acres of prime agricultural land into big homes, on large lots, surrounded by businesses and a hospital - - degradation of the land has been among the outcomes.

That these 800-1,400-year-old Native American mounds were there is a known fact.

Pabst Farm's website contains this information:

"Our vision is to carry on the Pabst family’s love of the land through protection of important natural resources including wetlands, woodland areas, and historically significant Indian mounds. And what we build to the Pabst Farms land must also be a tribute to the rich heritage handed down from generation to generation. "

The irony is that Pabst Farms is constantly referred to as a "planned community."

Except that the planners a) forgot to pencil in an interstate interchange so motorists could get to the fancy shopping mall still under consideration, and b) didn't get the word to employees in vehicles clearing brush that rare effigy mounds were on the site and had to be protected.

Those are exhibit a) and b), to date.

Maybe we should have a contest to name what c) and d) will be?

Planners and experts say the damage to the mounds can be fixed. Depends on what you mean by fixed.

Is a rare painting slashed by a vandal in a museum, or an icon or relic broken in one of our major religious shrines or temples, really restored after the damage is done?

For cultures that built and used these mounds for spiritual ceremonies, does adding fresh dirt in tire ruts repair the physical and psychic insult?

How long will it take someone to leave a comment on this posting essentially saying, 'who cares, those cultures are long gone, and roads and subdivisions are good for the regional economy?'

Repairing the damage done is moot argument, however, when it comes to other mounds in - - well, that were once in the area.

Officials and others were discussing the Native American mounds, and a pit in the Pabst Farm site, during the December 6, 2005 meeting of the Waukesha County Land Use, Planning and Environment Committee.

The minutes say:

"At one point there were close to 30 Indian mounds in this area. The I-94 construction wiped out the lion's share along with the [pit]."

Looks like the mound-builders were bad planners, too. Imagine putting these structures where an Interstate Highway, the road to Sprawlville, had to run.


Anonymous said...

Sad. Used to be 40,000 mounds in Wisconsin alone. We need to start paying attention to what we are damaging and destroying.

Anonymous said...

Sad. Used to be 40,000 mounds in Wisconsin alone. We need to start paying attention to what we are damaging and destroying.