New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez announced that work will begin next week to install engraved murals on the Northway Exit 3 ramps that honor the Capital Region’s rich Native American history. The murals were supposed to be installed years ago, but have been delayed.

As part of the environmental review process for the Albany Airport Transportation Corridor project, New York State Museum archeologists conducted surveys to look for historic artifacts below ground and uncovered evidence that Native people used these lands as a seasonal settlement. The archeological site lies in the Albany Pine Bush ecoregion, and the site’s strategic location between two environmental niches – Pine Bush woodlands and river marshlands – likely provided access to subsistence resources. Archeologists also unearthed artifacts dating back 4,500 to 10,000 years ago, including projectile points for hunting, and stone scrapers used to remove and clean animal hides.

One of the murals will depict male dancers, while another on the opposite side will illustrate female dancers.  Motorists will be able to view these murals driving both northbound and southbound on I-87.

The agreement to install these murals came from a negotiation between local tribes and Governor Cuomo when the proposed Exit 3 construction would cut across land sacred to the Stockbridge-Munsee, St. Regis Mohawk, and Delaware tribes here in the Capital Region.

Two of the tribes agreed to a 2014 deal with the DOT that allowed construction to proceed and called for the murals to be installed prominently on the overpass as a way of celebrating the history of the land.

Mural construction will last approximately 10 days and motorists may experience lane closures while the murals are erected.

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