The placement of a cell tower on the Marr property was opposed by the Nez Perce (see editor's note at end of letter) in an emotional charge that the terrain was sacred.
This tower was to be 80 feet tall and aesthetically designed as a pine tree that would have fit into the existing natural surroundings. The site location was 1,600 (approximately 1/4 mile) from the Old Chief Joseph burial site. Due to the opposition by the Nez Perce Tribe, US Cellular canceled their plans for placement in this location.
This is very disturbing since the same Wallowa Band of the Nez Perce Tribe had already negotiated and been approved for a second cell tower in Wallowa overlooking the Tamkaliks grounds. This tower happens to be 180 feet high and is located 500 feet from an active Indian burial ground. The Wallowa Nez Perce Band will receive $750 in monthly royalties for their generosity in providing a landmark location that can be seen for miles in all directions.
There must be a sliding scale for sacredness in the Nez Perce spiritual concept and is negotiable for the right price. As in all situations, there are winners and losers. In this case, the winner is the Wallowa Nez Perce Band (see editor's note) whose coffers will be enriched each month, Wallowa and Lostine who had something given back to them and finally a technological landmark marvel. The losers are the Joseph Public Schools and the Wallowa Lake Fireworks Display as Paula and Steve Krieger were prepared to donate the monthly royalties from US Cellular if the tower had been placed on their property. Sacredness is also a loser as it is apparently a political football and for sale, if the price is right. Loss of property rights by false claims and intimidation is a big loser.
Clarification: The Nez Perce Tribe never opposed a cell tower on the Marr Property. The appeal was made by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla and the Center for Tribal Water Advocacy, which later changed its name to avoid confusion. It is not affiliated with any tribe. The Wallowa Band Nez Perce Interpretive Center Inc, is a non-profit group made up of both Indian and non-Indian members and is not affiliated with any one reservation.