The transformative nature, scale, and impact generated by the Horse Creek Wind Project would damage many of the region's most important cultural resources. Of specific concern is:
1. Damage and loss to Tribal Nations cultural resources that would likely occur during project construction (land clearing, miles of road building, heavy equipment movement, excavation, and the actual construction of turbines and transmission lines) and,
2. Long-term serious visual disturbances to highly sensitive and important cultural resources due to turbine lighting.
Horse Creek’s turbine lighting would potentially cause serious visual disturbances and destruction to Sacred and Ceremonial Landscapes. This destruction of the night and day skylines would likely cause irreparable harm to sites held sacred to Sovereign Tribal Nations, including the Oneida, Onondaga and Mohawk Nations.
It is only by full, prior consultation with Tribal Nations that appropriate and complete site interpretations and recommendations can be made to safeguard important cultural resources.
River Residents Against Turbines believes that prior to any development of the Horse Creek Wind Project, these Nations should be consulted by Iberdrola, and by all project authorities, to determine if Horse Creek is a suitable location for the project.
As with other projects, Iberdrola will likely suggest that these resources can be sufficiently addressed by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), non-native archaeologists, or through mitigation techniques after Horse Creek approval. However, as recent national events involving industrial development projects have demonstrated, it is only with in-depth consultation and direction from representatives of these Nations that appropriate and complete site interpretations and recommendations can be implemented to safeguard important existing cultural resources.
This is a responsible and sensitive methodology that can appreciate and conserve important cultural resources, including Ceremonial and Sacred Landscapes found within the Horse Creek area of impact.
Sketch of the Perch Lake Mounds (1905). Public Domain
It is alarming and impossible to imagine just what might be destroyed if Horse Creek proceeds without full, prior consultation with Native American Nations, who should have been considered important project stakeholders from the moment the developer entered the area in 2006.
Local Expert Perspective by Ken Knapp Curator for the Knapp Collection - a Native American archive of the 1000 Islands Region Local authority on the area's Pre-Contact archeology
"One key element of the 1000 Islands region that will be impacted is harder to define, but just as vital to our lives, that is the cultural aspects, both our present and the cultural history of the past. The common bonds of community we share, those esoteric or intangible things that combine with our beloved landscape to weave a rich tapestry of human experience, and added to our history, that is what defines us as a people. This is all very much at risk, the evidence abounds in any of the Towns of the region that have dealt with this development threat.
We have seen neighbors and families ripped apart, with the community spirit laying in tattered ruins, a human tragedy, all before a shovel hits the ground. At risk in a very real way, is our very ability for future cultural self-determination. A big part of our cultural history and the shared human experience in the 1000 Islands that I can speak to with some authority is the region's cultural past. Many may not be aware of this past.
All around us are the traces left from the over ten centuries of Native American history in our region, occurring long before any European saw this landscape and the ensuing few hundred years of local history most of us are familiar with. The amount of these Pre-Contact archeological sites that are in this area is truly remarkable and unique in New York.
These many sites, and the region itself, are of great importance to the Mohawk, Oneida and Onondaga Nations as well as significant to the regional history and science. Be it the shorelines of the 1000 Islands and Lake Ontario, our region's farmlands, or the banks of the many smaller waterways such as Chaumont and Perch Rivers, the presence of ancient peoples and their cultural remains can be found in abundance still.
The location of the Horse Creek Wind Project sits between one of the largest Native American cemeteries in the region, located at Depauville, and the Perch Lake Mounds, a unique Native American Ceremonial Landscape. Both sites are of extreme importance to the Nations and science, as well as to the region’s long human historical record.
The developer has already transmitted their written disdain for any consultations with the Nations regarding this project prior to development, much like the disdain they have for the wishes of the current occupants of the 1000 Islands. A sad demonstration of a development threat that unites present and past cultures, as well as peoples, in a shared danger that can destroy our future, our present and our shared past."
“High numbers of Native burials are present throughout the region.There is a high likelihood of disturbance to human or cultural remains with the physical disruption of thousands of acres in such close proximity to Depauville and its major role in Native burials and mortuary practices in the area. The numbers of Native American remains found in and around Depauville over the last 200 years is astonishing. Historical records also show additional burials on both sides of the Chaumont River.
The Native American human remains that have been found in our region are considered ancestral to the Mohawk, Oneida and Onondaga Nations. The disturbance of some of these remains in the 1960s resulted in a cease and desist order to stop excavations of multiple human remains, which were later repatriated to the Onondaga Nation.
The Perch Lake Mounds, unique ancient Native American stone constructions concentrated around Perch Lake, have no known domestic use and are interpreted to be ceremonial. Spread over a large area, they are considered aCeremonial Landscape, one that may have functioned as gathering places for fire related ceremonies and nocturnal activities, such as events involving astronomical observations for noting calendar points.
The proposed industrial project will cause disturbance to the land, with its permanent disruption of the day as well as night skyline, causing the Perch Lake Mounds' role as an important Ceremonial Landscape irreparable harm. The Mounds’ full geographical extent is unknown, possibly overlapping within the project footprint.
These are just two examples of many sites in and around the purposely vague 14,000 acre footprint the developer has proposed. The recent past has shown that disregarding Native American concerns in regions they consider to be of great spiritual or cultural importance is morally questionable.” - Ken Knapp
Again we ask - Why put all this in jeopardy for the poorly sited Horse Creek project?