HARDIN, Mont. — The backhoe excavation of a 2,000-year-old bison bone bed on the Crow Indian Reservation as part of a coal mine expansion has stirred controversy among tribal members as the tribal election nears.
Former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Dale Old Horn says he agreed to the best plan possible when the bone site was discovered east of Hardin because Westmoreland Resources already had a lease to expand its mine.
Old Horn says when the site was excavated, workers saved enough bison bones to nearly fill a semitrailer. He says they will be stored and returned to the site when it is reclaimed.
Current Historical Preservation Officer Burdick Two Leggins says it’s a sacred site, while others suggest it could have been a tourist attraction.
The tribal election is being held Nov. 3.