Friday, July 29, 2011

Evidence of Osage, Winnebago and Iroquois Traditions of Burials in Earthen Mounds

Evidence of Osage and Iroquois Traditions of Burials in Earthen Mounds

From Exerts from, Cyrus Thomas, "THE PROBLEM OF THE OHIO MOUNDS."

Early Native American burial mound in Indiana that was desecrated by university archaeologists. Universities refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that the burial mounds were constructed by early Native Americans.

     Some evidences of mound building by northern Indians may be found in the works of comparatively modern writers. Lewis C. Beck [Footnote: Gazetteer of the States of Ill. and Mo., p. 308.] affirms that "one of the largest mounds in this country has been thrown upon this stream [the Osage] within the last thirty or forty years by the Osages, near the great Osage village, in honor of one of their deceased chiefs." It is probable this is the mound referred to by Major Sibley, [Footnote: Featherstoubaugh, Excur. through Slave States, p. 70.] who says an Osage Indian informed him that a chief of his tribe having died while all the men were off on a hunt, he was buried in the usual manner, with his weapons, etc., and a small mound was raised over him. When the hunters returned this mound was enlarged at intervals, every man carrying materials, and so the work went on for a long time, and the mound, when finished, was dressed off to a conical form at the top. The old Indian further said he had been informed, and believed, that all the mounds had a similar origin.

       Lewis and Clarke mention not only the erection of a mound over a modern chief, but also numerous earthworks, including mounds, which were known to be the work of contemporaneous Indians. [Footnote: Travels, Dublin ed., 1817, pp. 30, 31, 55, 67, 115, 117, 122-125, etc.]

       L. V. Bierce [Footnote: Historical Reminiscences of Summit County, Ohio, p. 128.] states that when Nicksaw, an old Wyandotte Indian of Summit County, was killed, "the Indians buried him on the ground where he fell, and according to their custom raised a mound over him to commemorate the place and circumstances of his death. His grave is yet to be seen."

       Another writer says: "It is related by intelligent Indian traders that a custom once prevailed among certain tribes, on the burial of a chief or brave of distinction, to consider his grave as entitled to the tribute of a portion of earth from each passer-by, which the traveler sedulously carried with him on his journey. Hence the first grave formed a nucleus around which, in the accumulation of the accustomed tributes thus paid, a mound was soon formed." [Footnote: Smith's History of Wisconsin, vol. 3, 1834, p. 245.]

      According to a Winnebago tradition, mounds in certain localities in Wisconsin were built by that tribe, and others by the Sacs and Foxes.[Footnote: Wis. Hist. Soc., Rept. I, pp. 88, 89.]

There is another Indian tradition, apparently founded on fact, that the Essex mounds in Clinton County, Mich., are the burying places of those killed in a battle between the Chippewas and Pottawatomies, which occurred not many generations ago. [Footnote: Smithsonian Report, part 1, 1884, p. 848.]

         During the explorations of the Bureau in southeastern Missouri and Arkansas, finding the remains of houses in low, flat mounds was a common occurrence. Although the wood in most cases had disappeared, what had not been converted to coals and ashes having rotted away, yet the size and form, and, in part, the mode of construction, were clearly indicated. The hard-tramped, circular, earthen floor gave the size and form; the numerous fragments of burnt clay forming a layer over the floor—often taken by explorers for brick-revealed the method of plastering their dwellings; the charred remains of grass and twigs showed that it had been strengthened by this admixture; the impressions left on the inner face of these lumps of burnt plastering revealed the character of the lathing, which was in some cases branches and twigs, but in others split cane. The roof was thatched with grass or matting, the charred remains of which were found in more than one instance. In probably nine cases out of ten it was apparent these dwellings had been burned. This was found to be due to the custom of burying the dead in the floor and burning the dwelling over them, covering the remains with dirt often before the fire had ceased burning.

Alternating layers of ashes from the burning of the charnel house and cremations is the general rule of mound construction both in the Ohio Valley and in the Great Lakes region.  The early Iroquois and Sioux tribes sharing similar mortuary practices under the guise of the Hopewell Mound Builders.

      As a general rule the strata are found in this order: (1) a top layer of soil from 1 foot to 2 feet thick; (2) a layer of burnt clay from 3 to 12 inches thick (though usually varying from 4 to 8 inches) and broken into lumps, never in a uniform, unbroken layer; immediately below this (3) a thin layer of hardened muck or dark clay, though this does not always seem to be distinct. At this depth in the mounds of the eastern part of Arkansas are usually found one or more skeletons.     

     Numerous other references to the same effect might be given, but these are sufficient to show that the remains found in the mounds of the South are precisely what would result from the destruction by fire of the houses in use by the Indians when first encountered by Europeans.

     It is admitted now by all archaeologists that the ancient works of New York are attributable to Indians, chiefly to the Iroquois tribes. This necessarily carries with it the inference that works of the same type, for instance those of northern Ohio and eastern Michigan, are due to Indians. It is also admitted that the mounds and burial pits of Canada are due, at least in part, to the Hurons. [Footnote: David Boyle, Ann. Rept. Canadian Institute, 1886-1887, pp. 9-17; Ibid., 1888, p. 57.]