A significant step has been taken in cleaning up a polluted piece of property while returning the land to its first owner
Who's the polluter? The US Army which manufactured weapon propellant at Badger Ammo from World War two through the Vietnam War. Who originally owned the land at the base of the Baraboo Hills? The Ho-Chunk Nation.
The Nation's outside legal counsel, Samantha Greendeer says an agreement signed Monday is the first step in returning the 15-hundred acres to its natural state. In fact, the Ho-chunk see this as a step in the process of returning land that was lost when the Nation ceded the parcel to the U.S. Government in 1837 via treaty.
The Nation hopes to develop an organically raised bison herd and to make the land into a natural prairie once again.
But while the Nation may take possession of the land by the end of the year there are years ahead of cleaning up contaminates left in buildings and the soil from years of weapon propellant production.
The Nation says it is has a land use plan designed for the clean up and is working with local groups to restore that part of the Ho-Chunk Nation.