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Indian Burial Ground Discovered at Kandiyohi County Park

The future of a Minnesota park is uncertain after a burial ground was discovered on site. Managers at Big Kandiyohi Lake, County Park East say the campground has been in existence for more than 60 years.


“There are boats, tubing, fishing, it’s very active,” said Kelsey Baker, Kandiyohi County administrator. During the spring and summer, Big Kandiyohi Lake comes to life – and so does the campground at County Park East. But a new construction project uncovered old artifacts.


“From there we had to do a cultural resource survey and that’s when we found out there were artifacts, remains, and things like that,” said Baker.  The county had received a $234,00 grant from the DNR to make the park ADA compliant for people with disabilities. The plan was to tear down this building and build a new shelter and bathhouse. And they were also going to build four new cabins on the other side of the campsite. But that’s all on hold after the archaeological survey uncovered what appears to be Native American remains. Due to a law called the “Private Cemeteries Act” the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council will now help decided the future of the park.


“It’s all kind of in limbo,” said Duane Anderson, Kandiyohi County commissioner. Anderson said moving the campground to a new location on Big Kandi isn’t a realistic option. “On this lake, maybe where we would pick another site we would have the same situation,” said Anderson.


So for now, they are looking at workarounds where they can be ADA compliant without having to dig. Ultimately, they know tribal leaders will have the final say.


“We want to work with them, and we want to stay on good standing with them because it is quite possibly the remains of their ancestors that are here,” said Anderson. There are 80 camping sites at county park east. Park managers say they’ve been told they will be operate as normal for the upcoming 2024 camping and boating season.