NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Two tribes have responded to a proposed roundabout project in Northampton where ancient artifacts were found.
The tribes say an online petition to stop the construction is misleading, and more research should be done before anything further happens.
The Nipmuc Nation of Massachusetts has released a statement saying it’s not opposing a roundabout planned for the intersection of Hatfield St and North King Street in Northampton, despite archaeological artifacts discovered at the site last fall.
The tribe was responding to an online petition, which has more than 55,000 signatures, which calls to stop construction. Although the tribe says they aren’t opposed to the roundabout, they believe the 10,000-year-old artifacts should remain in the ground, untouched.
Elnu Abenaki, a southern Vermont state-recognized tribe also released a statement and has similar views.
“Since we found out that the Wampanoag’s did their dig here and it’s basically an Indian piece of property up there and it shouldn’t be disturbed, that’s our feeling,” said Abenaki.
When Bill LaChance, owner of Mark’s Motors found out it was a potentially historic site, he agreed that the area should be untouched. But he’s also fighting against the roundabout proposal because the construction would affect his business.
The Nipmuc Nation said there is no evidence this is a ‘village’ site, and archaeology has only disturbed the area. Some locals believe the site should just be left alone, entirely.
“I think it’s really cool and I would personally love to know the history of the town that I live in, I think it would be great,” said LaChance. “I don’t think it should be destroyed and constructed until they have all the knowledge and ground work and move forward from there.”
Ground has not been broken on the project.
It was expected to begin earlier this month.