There is growing concern over what could happen to a Native American burial mound in New Lenox Township if the Will County Division of Transportation widens Gougar Road near US Route 30 as part of a larger road construction project.
The mound is located near Hickory Creek on land owned by the Gougar family, who settled the area in the early 1800s and maintained a friendship with the Potawatomi tribe.
Members of the tribe guarded the settlers’ belongings when the Gougars left during the Black Hawk War.
"The Potawatomi tribe came over and took care of the animals, fed and watered them, so when they came back the animals were still there," said Patricia Schedit, a descendant of the Gaugar family.
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Some of the mound’s remains and artifacts were moved to a nearby location when the road was widened in the 1960s.
But there are efforts to try to prevent any future movement of the remains and artifacts. A unity prayer is scheduled to be held at the site on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
"It’s a sacred site to us and we prefer not to have them moved," said Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, founder and president of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation, which advocates for the preservation of Native American cultural aspects.
The Will County Division of Transportation said it values public input for all county roadway projects and it will be reviewing these concerns.