Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Indian Burial Ground Developed as Historical Park

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Indian Burial Ground Developed as Historical Park

Article excerpt

FAIRBANKS, Ind. - The whirring sound of saws filled the air, but underneath, one could hear the beating of a drum. Minimum-security offenders from the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility were cutting wood Sunday afternoon, deep along the back roads of rural Fairbanks where the Sullivan County American Indian Council Inc. has established a heritage site now referred to as Waapaahsiki Siipiiwi.

Hugh Oxendine, a member of the council and of Lumbee Indian ancestry himself, was out helping clear the wooded site, excited about future developments there which include a museum, council headquarters and youth campgrounds. The group hopes to have those up and ready by next spring.

"There's a lot of really neat things happening out here," he said near the mulched trails leading toward an ancient mound.

Last April, archaeologists from Indiana University visited the mound in conjunction with the council, performing a dig at the site now believed to have been a Kickapoo Indian burial ground in use 1,500 years ago. Oxendine told the Tribune-Star the archaeological team found nearly 600 artifacts while there last year.

Sen. John Waterman, R-Shelburn, walked through the woods wearing bibbed overalls Sunday, as he has since the project got under way 1 1/2 years ago. Of European ancestry himself, Waterman said similarities between the spiritual traditions of Native Americans and Christians seem quite apparent to him.

In fact, during the tenure of President Thomas Jefferson, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were commissioned to find evidence linking Native Americans to the "Lost Tribe of Israel," he noted. Today, some evidence suggests a DNA link between Hebrews and Native Americans, he said, expressing his appreciation for the stories and lore of both.

Among the artifacts discovered at the site were a Colt revolver from 1860, deer antlers with carvings, and pottery which carbon- dated back 1,500 years. …

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