Potawatomi acquires possible burial site in Williams Bay
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WILLIAMS BAY The Potawatomi still have a local connection to a historic tribal site, although as absentee property owners.
For over 75 years, a granite boulder marked a spot where it is believed two of Chief Big Foot’s wives were buried in Williams Bay. The boulder — and a bronze plaque explaining the historical significance of the site — sat for decades on undeveloped property on Elm Street in the village.
When the land was privately purchased several years ago, its owners removed the stone and plaque. Dan Weyhrauch, Williams Bay Village board president, persuaded the owners to return the items to the village. The boulder stood outside the village hall and the plaque was placed in Village Administrator Bob Carlson’s office.
In 2007, after the village contacted the Forest County Potawatomi about protecting the site, the tribe purchased the land and the markers were put back.
If legally declared a burial site, the land would be protected by state law, prohibiting development.
Carlson said the village would like to turn the area into a park, add a bench or two and keep the land maintained, but cannot afford liability insurance for the property, Carlson said. So the next move is up to the Potawatomi tribe.
“They’re going to have to spend some money to discern whether it’s a burial ground,” Carlson said. “And if they want a park, they’ll have to provide the liability insurance.”
Vince Leppert of the Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center and Museum in Crandon did not respond to messages from a reporter regarding the site.
Read the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.