Press Release: Little Lake Ossuary Uncovered in Midland, Ontario
- The following release was received from Steve Catlin, archivist at the Martyr's Shrine who passed it along scant hours after the ossuary was uncovered by bulldozers preparing the grounds for construction.We give many thanks to Steve for this timely notice as we were able to get people to the site almost immediately to guard that these remains don't end up in the museum storage.
Michelle Bedard and her son have been given authorization by the Anderdon Band chief, Steve Gronda, to act on the bands behalf in protection of our ancestors.
She will be working in conjunction with the committee established of Elders from other First Nations in Ontario who are dedicated to the preservation of our historical sites and burials.
May 30, 2003
>From Huronia Museum and the Town of Midland
>On Thursday, May 29th, 2003 during the construction of the North Simcoe
>Recreation Centre adjacent to the Midland Arena, construction workers
>unearthed human remains. Work ceased immediately, and Museum curator James
>Hunter, also an archaeologist, was called to the site. It is believed an
>entire Huron ossuary has been discovered, just 15 feet from Little Lake
>Park Road and approximately 2-3 feet below the surface.
>The Town's Chief Administrative Officer F. Flood was notified immediately
>by the Engineering Department and also attended the site. Mayor George
>MacDonald was alerted as well. "We shall have the utmost respect for this
>First Nations ossuary. It is a most fascinating discovery and we will
>ensure all proper and legal procedures are followed," stated Mayor
>MacDonald. CAO Flood noted, "The location of the site will not impede
>progress of the project as it is removed from where actual building
>construction will take place. We are taking care to give this very special
>attention and work around the site as necessary."
>The area has been fenced off and is under 24-hour police protection. Dr.
>Dean Knight, archaeologist and forensic anthropologist at Wilfrid Laurier
>University is currently on-site and has determined that an estimated 100
>burials have been uncovered and there may be up to 200 more burials at the
>site. The full size of the ossuary is not known at present.
>Valerie Monague, Chief of Beausoleil First Nations has been contacted as
>well as Leon King, the principal elder of the Beausoleil Band. Respect for
>the deceased is top priority by all involved. A tobacco offering was made
>by Museum Curator Jamie Hunter last night as an offer of condolence for the
>disturbance to the deceased.
>Coroner Dr. Peter Cameron was also called to the site and has issued a
>warrant to Huronia Museum to take possession of the remains and to conduct
>an investigation. Jamie Hunter believes these remains are associated with a
>discovery made in 1887 in Little Lake Park. Those remains were tentatively
>dated at 1500 AD.
>The next step has yet to be determined, but will be made in consultation
>with elders from Beausoleil First Nations, Dr. Knight and Fred Flood, CAO
>of the Town of Midland.