The following is an email reply going out to constituents who have emailed in response to a MassDOT project which would have an impact on a site known to have Native American artifacts.
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Thank you for reaching out about MassDOT’s project in Northampton and its relation to the artifacts found on Mr. Skibiski’s property. I’m grateful for your advocacy in support of Native American history, artifacts, and necessary care and caution.
Our office is tuned into this matter and working closely with Representative Sabadosa, state agencies, Northampton city officials, and our constituents.
Through this due diligence, we have some relevant information to share:
- Full-on construction is not slated to begin on July 1.
- Because federal funding was involved in this project, MassDOT was mandated to hire and fund the Mass Historical Commission to conduct a site evaluation. The Commission consulted with MassDOT’s archeologist.
- The Federal Highway division is now also involved and will ensure that interested tribal nations are deeply consulted. This is a very positive development.
- We have requested all manner of information and clarification about the original site evaluation, the Federal Highway division’s work, and more.
- We have also requested follow up meetings with relevant agencies.
- As is absolutely within his rights, Mr. Skibiski is currently suing the state on this matter. While there is pending litigation, our ability to fully intervene or negotiate as elected officials is temporarily limited until a ruling has been made.
Thank you for your concern and advocacy. I stand with you in the belief in the need for ethical and transparent government action.