The Midwest is home to some very significant American Indian sites that were and still are important to the people and cultures that established each location. From burial mounds to lost cities, there is a lot to see and explore and learn about for both adults and children. Some of the sites have been designated as historic sites, others were archeological digs and others have been reconstructed so that guests can get a better idea of the purpose and use of pavilions, homes, store houses and burial sites. Visiting these sites increases our awareness of the rich history of our country and its native people.
If you will be traveling through the Midwestern United States, the following American Indian sites are worth a stop.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Located in Illinois, sitting along the Mississippi River, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site includes the largest archeological site in North America and is the site of an ancient civilization. Cahokia is thought to have included over 120 mounds that composed a city that supported anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 people from A.D 700 to A.D. 1200. There is just as much known about Cahokia as there are mysteries, making it a constantly changing story. Guests can visit the museum and interpretive center to learn about the city that stood here, what we know and what answers are still being sought. Take a self guided or guided tour through the city and view the mounds that are the largest in North America.
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Located further up the Mississippi River are the Effigy Mounds, a large collection of sacred mounds that are the work of a large number of tribes and important in their culture. Built to resemble animals, as burial sites and to mark celestial events, the mounds are preserved and protected by the people that consider them sacred and the National Park Service. While the park itself is in Iowa and surrounds some of the most significant and clustered mounds, they actually extend from Iowa and Minnesota all the way to Lake Michigan in both Wisconsin and Illinois.
Black Hawk Powwow Grounds
While the grounds are not as impressive at first and are without any significant welcoming or visitor center, these grounds are significant. Used by American Indians for powwows since the late 1800s, the grounds are a National Historic Place. If you are in this area of Wisconsin during one of the large powwows or other gathering, add the grounds and the event to your itinerary for a unique, cultural experience.
Dickson Mounds Museum
The Dickson Mounds Museum covers the history and culture of native people that lived along the Mississippi River. Several different cultures and people are included in the exhibitions that are present at the museum, but the Eveland Village is the highlight. The Village includes excavated Indian remains which have been preserved and put on display so that guests can learn about the people that lived there.