The CTDOT and the historical office defend the treatment of Native American artefacts


Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti speaks at a press conference at Stratford station on June 21.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

It was concerning to read the claims made by historical entities at Norwalk about the state Department of Transportation regarding the significant and sensitive artifacts found as part of the Walk Bridge replacement project (December 2 news article, “State hid the discovery of a Native American artifact near Walk Bridge, according to the Norwalk Historical Commission“).

In practice and in law, when historically significant discoveries are made during a transportation project – as they were at East Norwalk during an archaeological survey in 2018 – decisions about impacts on history are carefully taken into account. When there are finds at sites of particular importance to federally recognized tribes, the tribal nations are given due respect and reverence in the consultation process as outlined in federal law. .

The Connecticut Department of Transportation and the State Historic Preservation Office have supported and continue to support the sovereignty and importance of tribal nations in decision-making regarding their own cultural history.

While we appreciate the enthusiasm generated by these discoveries and the vigor that historical interests at Norwalk would like to accede to them, the State will continue to follow the formal process. We will ensure that the voices of tribal nations are heard as we do our part to help restore the chapters of Native American life that have been lost in history.

Joseph Giulietti is commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Jonathan Kinney is Director of the State Historic Preservation Office

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