Twin Ports Interchange construction halted due to Indigenous remains discovery

An Indigenous person’s remains were found in an area of the Twin Ports Interchange Project in Duluth.

The Duluth Police Department confirmed with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS’ sister station WDIO News that officers received a report of a “possible human bone” on Feb. 14. An expert determined the bone to be a partial jaw bone.

The field investigator for the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, Dylan Goetsch, told The Duluth News Tribune that these findings triggered Minnesota’s Private Cemeteries Act and the federal Native Americans Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The newspaper says the remains were determined to be Indigenous.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) District Engineer Duane Hill told the Duluth News Tribune that the project’s “Unanticipated Discovery Plan” was applied as soon as the “sensitive cultural material” was recovered.

This plan ensures the proper agencies and tribal nations are informed of the find. Work in the area has been brought to a halt to avoid further burial interferences. Crews at the site have been moved to different areas with the project.

The newspaper also says that this is the first time human remains of this nature have been found on this stretch of highway.

Hill told The Duluth News Tribune that it is unclear at this time if the find will alter the project’s timeline or design.