[VIEW] The Sacred Monuments in Iowa that Natives Built
Yesterday, October 11, was National Indigenous Peoples' Day.
According to the New York Times, Indigenous Peoples’ Day 'recognizes the Indigenous communities that have lived in the United States for thousands of years. It grew increasingly common as a replacement for Columbus Day, which is meant to celebrate the explorer who sailed with a crew from Spain in three ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, in 1492.'
As many know, the state of Iowa was at one point in time occupied by several tribes. According to native-languages.org, the Dakota Sioux, Ioway, Illini, Otoe, and Missouria were five groups that maintained regular positions in the Hawkeye State.
Although these peoples are typically considered to be the primary groups of Iowa, there is one spot in the state that a multitude of other tribes left a significant impact -- or protrusion.
In northeast Iowa, the Effigy Mounds National Monument resides.
While Native American ceremonial mounds can be found in many different locations across the United States, according to nps.gov 'only in northeastern Iowa, along the high bluffs and lowlands of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, have so many of these mounds been found in the shape of animal effigies.'
The site continues: 'The 2,526 acre Monument preserves more than 200 mounds, including 31 in the form of bear and bird effigies. People known as the Woodland Indians built the mounds.'
The following tribes are all 'present day culturally associated American Indian tribes with Effigy Mounds National Monument.'
- Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
- Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
- Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians
- Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin
- Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
- Upper Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota
- Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community In the State of Minnesota
- Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota
- Prairie island Indian Community In the State of Minnesota
- Sac and Fox of the Mississippi in Iowa
- Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska
- Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma
- Crow Creek Sioux of South Dakota
- Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
- Santee Sioux Nation
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
- Yankton Sioux of South Dakota
- Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
- Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
- Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
The specific reason these mounds were built remains a mystery, but archaeologists and other researchers have a speculations as to why the mounds were constructed as such. The ideas center around the effigies being 'built for religious ceremonies, burial ceremonies, as clan symbols, or possibly as a way to connect people to their ancient ancestors and the spiritual world.'