Northland woman fears creek demolition plans will infringe on sacred Native American burial site

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland woman is concerned about the city possibly destroying the creek behind her home.

There's a lot to see from Terri Helt's backyard -- turkey, deer, and century old trees, but what Helt is concerned about are pink ribbons.

“And to me those are warning flags,” she advised.

She's afraid the city will destroy the wildlife in its effort to fix the creek's growing erosion problem. She also doesn't want to infringe on history.

She says Native Americans used Old Maid's Creek as a sacred burial site.

“In 2003, a healing ceremony was held. I witnessed that ceremony and it was just really special,” Helt said.

Platte County and Kansas City received a $5-million federal transportation grant to improve the area. The city plans to add bike lanes, sidewalks, and streets while working to preserve the Native American heritage.

“We want to minimize our footprint to stay within the existing corridor and stay out of those sites,” said Wes Minder who works in the city’s manager’s office.

For Helt, there's a deeper connection to the land.

“I have Native American heritage. It's like family,” Helt said while tearing up.

She's lived there for 16 years and is willing to fight to preserve the land.

“It would be impossible for me to witness. If they destroy it, it would be impossible for me to stay here,” she said.

The city has conducted an archeological study and is only in it's preliminary stages. They plan to have an informational meeting in the next couple of months.

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