A Klamath Falls subdivision that is contaminated with asbestos may also hold some important links to the past. A cultural resource survey is now underway at North Ridge Estates.
Perry Chocktoot's ancient ancestors may have called North Ridge Estates 'home'...
"This is extremely culturally significant out here - extremely." Chocktoot notes that archeologists are now combing the area for evidence. "You're going to find lithic scatters, you're going to find house pits, and like I said, in the vaulted and lofted areas, you're going to find spiritual areas."
The site is also contaminated.
Asbestos wasn't properly disposed of when a former Marine base was torn down. And now, just a few of the 39 homes that were built in the area are occupied.
But, Denise Baker-Kircher of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that North Ridge is now in line for 20 million dollars in federal funding for clean up...
"If all things go well, we'll be able to start moving dirt in May of 2013. The clean up would take three years to do."
But, Chocktoot notes that clean up could be delayed if significant archeological finds are made...
"I'm really, really hoping that we don't find anything in these areas, that this asbestos has been buried on." Chocktoot adds that the job is now a balance to preserve human health, and human history. "For us, we have to work together to try to clean this up. This poses a threat to all of the general public."
And making the area safe for future generations...while honoring its past.
Tribal officials caution that unauthorized artifact hunting is illegal. Extra patrols of North Ridge Estates are being made while the cultural survey is conducted.