More calls to halt Hood Park construction in Perrysburg over remains


PERRYSBURG — Two entities have asked for the city to halt construction in Hood Park because of ancient
Native American bones found on the property.
“To desecrate someone’s burial site, whether you’re native or non-native, is not right. Those are our
people. It’s sacred and should not be messed with,” asked Philip Yenyo, executive director of the
American Indian Movement of Ohio, a non-profit organization that educates the public on issues affecting
the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.
In addition to Yenyo’s request, Councilwoman Deborah Born has asked for a halt to construction on a
retaining wall in the park and the State Historic Preservation Office has made three recommendations
which may each require a halt to construction.
Born had been in contact with the State Historic Preservation Office and has received recommendations for
the city from Diana Welling, deputy SHPO officer for resource protection and review, which she read at
the end of last week’s council meeting.
The preservation office recommends that the City of Perrysburg:
• Hire an archaeologist to monitor construction activity and record/recover archaeological deposits
and/or human remains.
• Treat Hood Park as a city cemetery and implement a plan to preserve and protect burials on the property
in perpetuity.
• Consult with Federally-Recognized Tribes as the city may be subject to compliance with the Native
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and ensure that all future actions concerning
development of the park are in compliance since the city has control and possession of the property and
all the human remains and associated burial objects associated with it.
“I completely agree with the implementations by Ms. Diana Welling of the SHPO and I strongly recommend
that the city administration implement them immediately. I also agree if this is not done, the city
administration may face serious legal action from the state,” Born said.
Hood Park has been undergoing reconstruction of a retaining wall since April. This is not the first time
construction has taken place at the park related to revitalization.
Born had previously called for a halt to that construction until a representative of the Ohio History
Preservation Offices can inspect the site and make a recommendation.
“We are following up on that. We believe that to be based on facts that what was provided to them (State
Historic Preservation Office) may not have been accurate or complete,” said Mayor Tom Mackin.
Both the city and the preservation office have been doing research on the site. The city started working
with the office after a contact from Born on May 8.
“We were not given the opportunity to investigate it before she read it,” he said.
Yenyo is also asking for updated maps of the surveys and studies to be provided to the public. He is also
interested in a new study using modern ground penetrating radar and LIDAR. Both research tools are
sensing methods used in modern archaeological studies that do not disturb subsurface materials.
“The location where the bones are interred is not anywhere near where the work’s being done. It’s on a
separate part of the park,” Mackin said. “To my knowledge it has never been a cemetery.”
Welling found that there were archaeological studies on the property in 1991 and 1995, showing human
remains, writing “all of which likely come from a pre-contact period ossuary (i.e. an unmarked
pre-contact period cemetery) were identified and are likely present throughout Hood Park.”
A history of the property, put together by newly-appointed Councilman Mark Weber for the city, showed
that remains of 14 individuals were found on the property. Survey reports from the state, collected by
the Sentinel-Tribune, state that there were “a minimum of 14 individuals (11 adults, one adolescent and
two infants).”
During both the 1990 and 1995 projects, construction was halted for archaeological work.
During the 1990 research it could not be determined if the remains were of Native American or
Euroamerican ancestry and there were no prehistoric artifacts discovered.
The 1995 survey was more detailed and included site locations of findings in several sections of the
park, including the area under construction. During that study, there were six surface finds and 38
positive shovel tests, 11 of which included prehistoric findings.
Weber’s research did not show reports of artifacts, but the 1995 survey did report finding “prehistoric
lithic artifacts,” which are stone tools, or the evidence of the making of stone objects.
Additionally, Weber’s research referred to Native American expert archaeologist Raymond Vietzen.
“His positive opinion that they were Native Americans was solidified by red ochre on the remains, a
powder placed by native Americans on the deceased to honor them.”
Further, the Weber report describes how remains that were exhumed were re-interred in 1991 with Native
American traditional ceremonies.
Radiocarbon dating was recommended at the time, for accurate dating of the remains, but the destructive
nature and expense of the process was noted. That official 1990 report also stated, “While forensic
analysis of these human remains has not been particularly informative to date, future research methods
may shed additional light on this population.”

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