Samsung denies human bones at site, artifacts disappear

HDI Monitors were seen completing a line search of a taped off area of the Samsung solar farm, which could have been the possible site where artifacts were found 2 weeks ago. The ancient artifacts disappeared from the site overnight and no one has yet claimed responsibility. (Photo by Jen Mt. Pleasant)

Around a month ago, bones were discovered at one of Samsung’s solar farms near Cayuga, Ontario. Could they be human remains or simply animal bones? Samsung would eventually state the bones found were non-human in origin. Initially, Samsung denied that bones were found. When Two Row Times contacted them to get confirmation of the bones, they were told by Marcus Staviss who is Account Director, Counsel Public Affairs Inc., “This is not the case as far as I know – and I’ve also asked internally and with Samsung’s partners and no one knows this to be the case either.” Later on that same day, however, Staviss changed his story and confirmed that bones had indeed been found.

Staviss stated, “Remains were indeed found at one of Samsung’s solar sites. As soon as the remains were found, construction was immediately halted. There is currently no work going on, near or at the site. Samsung has notified Stantec Consulting who has expertise in dealing with remains found on construction sites. Stantec will be at the site on Monday morning. We have also notified our partners in Six Nations leadership to inform them and will remain in regular communication with our Six Nations partners.”

Staviss went on to explain, “Samsung has great respect for the Six Nations community and is very fortunate to be working in partnership with the community. We are working with our partners to ensure that the site is handled in an appropriate and sensitive manner.”

In a statement to Two Row Times that same day, another Samsung spokesperson, Tim Smitheman, who is Manager of Communications, Government and Public Relations stated, “We notified Six Nations Elected Council as well as the HDI monitors who were on site.  Construction was halted in that area and Stantec was called in to examine the remains.”

However when Two Row Times contacted Elected Chief Ava Hill, she stated she knew nothing of the find.  In an email dated June 27, 2014, Hill explained, “I am not aware of any  remains being found at the Samsung project.  Nothing has been brought to my attention in this regard.”

The bones would eventually be identified as a modern day cow. According to Smitheman, “Several weeks ago remains were found at the GRS (Grand Renewable Solar) site. After extensive scientific testing, Stantec has concluded the remains were from a modern day cow.”

Last Thursday, rumours swirled again as Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) Monitors discovered several artifacts at the same site southeast of Cayuga. Using the authority of an agreement Samsung has with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council, the Monitors immediately informed work crews to halt construction in that area and erected yellow police-style tape to let workers know not to dig in that area until further investigation could be completed. When HDI monitors returned to the site the following Monday however, they had discovered the artifacts had not only mysteriously disappeared overnight but construction had resumed.

It is not known who took the artifacts but all parties involved are claiming innocence.  An archaeological survey had been done in 2012 by Stantec Consulting Ltd. and apparently found no artifacts which gave construction crews the green light to start tearing topsoil off the land. Some experts speculate that the artifacts that were found at the solar farm may date as far back as 10,000 years and could possibly be the remnants of an ancient Haudenosaunee village.

Even though it was reported that construction crews did not know about the artifacts, it is now being confirmed through Samsung that the artifacts indeed were located on the solar farm site. In a statement regarding the missing artifacts, Samsung spokesperson Tim Smitheman stated,  “Samsung and its partners have taken immediate action in response to the archeological discovery at our Grand Renewable Solar site. We have halted construction work in the affected areas and have brought in independent archeologists from the firm Stantec to work alongside Six Nations monitors.”

It seems Samsung and their partners/contractors are also passing the buck back to HDI monitors by claiming they had no involvement in the disappearance of the artifacts, “Two small artifacts that were identified by an HDI monitor were not in the same location the following day.  Grand Renewable Solar (GRS) has investigated this as best as possible and can attest that neither GRS nor its contractor was responsible for the removal of these artifacts,” stated Smitheman.

Despite the accusations going back and forth, the fact that at least one area of the site is littered with artifacts of a possible ancient Haudenosaunee village and the artifacts seem to be disappearing just as fast as they are being found, Smitheman affirms, “Samsung will continue to work with our Six Nations partners to ensure that all provincial archeological guidelines are followed.”

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