Due to the recent inundation of misinformation regarding the Walker Hill Site, we are compelled to clarify some issues. First, neither the Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) nor the Department of Finance has any jurisdiction regarding determinations of the validity or significance of archaeological resources. That is the responsibility of the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO). The SHPO has been to the site, seen the artifacts, and obtained professional opinions from other researchers around the state. Based on his observations and the observations of these other researchers, he concurred with our interpretation that the site warrants further investigation. The LLBO Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) has also recommended preservation and further evaluation of the site, clearly expressing the concerns of the native community. It would be reprehensible to overlook this aspect of the issue. Regardless of how the Department of Finance has misrepresented OSA's authority, he has none in this matter.
Individuals have made gravely incongruous statements about the scientific process being followed, and what can be learned from it. The irony in this situation is that the people making these statements have themselves unabashedly disregarded the scientific process. We are professional archaeologists, with over 40 years of collective experience in 16 states, as well as overseas. We caution against accepting the OSA's pronouncements as scientifically valid. He fails to substantiate his arguments, and therefore he has no basis for dismissal of the site. The motivations behind the attacks are not known or understood, but we remain dedicated to the scientific method, and we will not be deterred by poorly constructed criticism. To quote a fellow scientist regarding the controversy surrounding the site, "the nice thing about science is that the evidence tells the story." Let the evidence speak. That is what we, the researchers, are trying to do.
Program Director Thor A. Olmanson
Field Director Colleen R. Wells
Division of Resource Management
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Heritage Sites Program
Getting well at the expense of others
Sure we'd all like to see Michael J. Fox get well. But isn't it wrong to try and get well at the nonconsensual expense of another, i.e., the destruction of human embryos, for their stem cells, to find a cure for Parkinson's disease?
Group shouldn't impose its values
Although I actively supported Sen. Koering's opponent in the recent election, I was dismayed to read former State Rep Gazelka's attack (Koering Backs Homosexual Agenda. March 4.) on Sen. Koering's effort to provide marriage level health benefits to gays. Mr. Gazelka's main concern seems to be the familiar "slippery slope" argument. Granting such benefits could lead, horror of horrors, to "legalize gay marriage."
There is a slippery slope here. But it is not the one Mr Gazelka and the MCCL are concerned about. By coincidence, today's New York Times has a story (Deny Rights in Nigeria, 3/8) which describes a "poisonous piece of legislation" about to become law in Nigeria, which has one of world's most corrupt and dictatorial governments. That legislation would impose long prison sentences on those who engage in any public or private show of a "same sex amorous relationship." As the Times points out, having dinner with a homosexual could violate the law. Perhaps this is the kind of legislation the anti-gay group would seek next.
When one group starts imposing its "moral values" on others, we have a slope which could lead down to a place where civil rights no longer mean much. There are major issues confronting us: war; soaring property taxes; medical costs; energy dependence; education cuts; and deteriorating infrastructure. There is a reason we elected John Ward and Al Doty to the Minnesota Legislature. They understand what is really important for Minnesotans.
Rolf E. Westgard
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