Tribes: Document shows Fort Sill museum director was left out of warnings on sacred site

By Ron Jackson Modified: September 25, 2008 at 12:30 am •  Published: September 25, 2008
FORT SILL — A high-ranking Fort Sill commander silenced a post historian who warned about the impact of building a warehouse near a site considered sacred to the Comanche Nation, according to a memo revealed in a court case.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti issued a ruling that prohibits the U.S. Army — at least temporarily — from building the $7.3 million Training Services Center warehouse south of the historic Medicine Bluffs.

Prior to the judge's order, military officials debated the legality of the project with Comanche Nation leaders.

Towana Spivey, who has been Fort Sill's museum director since 1982, warned military officials about the sensitivity of the site through a series of e-mails on the subject he began sending to officials as early as June 2007.

But Garrison Commander Col. Robert Bridgford told Spivey he would be kept "out of the coordination loop” with the Fort Sill Environmental Office involving all historic buildings and sites, according to a memorandum of record written by Spivey.

The memorandum became public record during the Comanche Nation's recent court hearing to halt construction at its traditionally sacred site.

On June 25, 2007, Spivey sent the following e-mail to Fort Sill Environmental Division Chief Glen Wheat, which appeared in Judge DeGiusti's ruling:

"Glen, I am hearing rumors about a new TSC (Training Services Center) facility on the north side of Randolph Road near the Medicine Bluffs. Is this true? If so, how did that ever get cleared? We have always tried to protect the area north of Randolph Road because once they start building there, that will become the excuse for additional buildings.

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The Medicine Bluffs site on Fort Sill is considered sacred by the Comanche Tribe, which is seeking to block construction of an Army warehouse on the site. BY RON JACKSON, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE

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