|Dr. John Low lecturing on The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians- Survival and Revival Through Storytelling, February 25, 2015. Image Courtesy of Timothy E. Black, DMIN Photography.|
Dr. John Low, Assistant Professor of Comparative Studies at the Ohio State University Newark Campus and member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi gave the closing lecture on Wednesday, February 25th for the Newark Earthworks Center sponsored lecture series entitled: “Returning to the Earthworks”.
He discussed the importance of storytelling for both his tribe and for people everywhere. They are a way of conveying customs and language, history and identity to descendants and to those who are invited to listen.
Dr. Low emphasized that as listeners they do not tell others that their stories are wrong, “stories feed us, they nurture us and they keep us alive. So we share those stories”.
In one brief account, Dr. Low mentions the sweat lodge and the Longhouse he knew of growing up. Within the fire of the lodge were four circles, representative of; The Mammoth people or Paleo-Indians, the Adena culture, the Hopewell culture, and the Potawatomi. The circles are a celebration of the connection between these groups and the land.
This connection is one example of why storytelling, in all of its forms, is important to American Indians. Earthworks are one of many ways in which stories are told, like songs, scrolls, or ledger art, they symbolize important cultural details and must be preserved in order to be passed on.
As a member of the closest federally recognized tribe to the ancient Earthworks here in central Ohio, Dr. Low feels that maintaining a connection to the ancestors who had built the Earthworks, and the mounds themselves, is important for their identity and also for preserving the Earthworks both in meaning and in form.
Tribal support in recent years has helped the Newark Earthworks Center in seeking World Heritage Status for many of Ohio’s ancient structures, including the Great Circle and Octagon Mound here in Newark.
The importance of being listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site is great.
It would garnish international support in the preservation of these sites and provide additional economic advantages, such as a boost in tourism which would benefit the mounds and the local community greatly.
He concluded by discussing the importance of community support in finding a way to preserve the earthworks in a fashion more representative of what we think the mounds were originally intended for; as a public space where people can come together.
“Stories are created from experiences”. Many are lost and may not be able to be reclaimed, but there should be no reason why we cannot create stories here in the present.
Even collaboration with the current and divisive land lease holders of the Octagon Mound, the Mound builders Country Club, would help in preserving the Earthworks until they could be respectively returned to the community as a place to share and inspire.
Ultimately, preservation of the Earthworks is dependent on help from many groups. Working together will help in ensuring that the mounds, and their stories, remain intact for future generations.
For more information,
- Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
- American Indian Studies Organization
- Comparative Studies
- Indians of the Midwest
- Identities: Cultural Identity
- Listen to John Low, Pokagon Potawatomi, Explain How Clan Identity Worked in the Past and Present
- Listen to John Low, Pokagon Potawatomi, Discuss Key Symbols of Pokagon Identity: The Leadership of Pokagon, the Catholic Mission, and Subsistence Technology
- Learn about the Pokagon Potawatomi Community's Powwow
- Identities: Legal Identity: Federal and State Recognition
- Listen to John Low Discuss How Pokagon Potawatomi Tribe Obtained Federal Recognition in 1994
- Identities: Legal Identity: Tribal Enrollment
- Listen to John Low Discuss the Enrollment Requirements for His Tribe, the Pokagon Potawatomi
- The Marketplace: Casinos
- Listen to John Low Explain How His Community Opened a Casino
- Listen to John Low Discuss How His Community Uses Casino Revenue
- The Marketplace: How We Know
- Listen to Historian Dave Edmunds Discuss Potawatomi Entrepreneurship in the 1840s
- Property: NAGPRA
- Listen to John Low Discuss the Repatriation Efforts of His Community, The Pokagon Potawatomi
- Treaties Today
- Listen to John Low Discuss What This Claim Meant to His Community, The Pokagon Potawatomi
- Indian Imagery: Challenging Stereotypes: Tribal Museums
- Listen to John Low Discuss the Significance of Potawatomi Participation in an Exhibit on Potawatomi Culture
- National NAGPRA
- The Red Man's Rebuke
- Chief Simon Pokagon, 1893.
- World's Columbian Exposition, Chigaco, Illinois.
- World's Columbian Exposition
- Chicago Historical Society.
- Treaty of Greeneville
- Ohio History Central
- Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties,
- compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler, Oklahoma State University
- "Treaty with the Wyandot, ETC., 1795"
- (Treaty of Greeneville)
- "Treaty with the Chippewa, etc., 1833"
- "Treaty with the Ottawa, etc., 1836".
- Williams v. Chicago U.S. Supreme Court Decision
- 242 U.S. 434 (1917)
- History and Culture: Boarding Schools
- American Indian Relief Council
- Sumnerville Mounds
- Hopewell Culture
- Anishinabek: the People of This Place
- Grand Rapids Public Museum, MI
- Teacher Resource Guide
- The Gottschall Rockshelter: An Archaeological Mystery
- Robert J. Salzer and Grace Rajnovich, Prairie Smoke Press, December 2001.
- Petroglyphs Provincial Park
- Peterborough Petroglyphs
- Ontario, Canada
- Norton Mound Group
- "one of the best preserved Hopewellian burial centers in the country and one of the most important archaeological sites in Michigan"
- Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
- UNESCO World Heritage
- Inscribed 1982.
- Angel Mounds State Historic Site
- A.D. 1050 - 1400
- Indiana State Museum
- Missaukee (Aetna) Earthworks
- Late Woodland, 1400 - 1000 AD
- National Register of Historic Places
- UNESCO World Heritage
- Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks
- World Heritage Ohio
- UNESCO World Heritage Nomination
- Meet Native America: Robert J. Moody Jr., Vice Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
- March 6, 2015.
- October Octagon Open House 2014
- December 4, 2014.
- Pokégnek Bodéwadmik - Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
- October 13, 2014.
- My Dream Show by Candi Wesaw
- October 7, 2014.
- "Fort Dearborn- "Conflict, Commemoration, Reconciliation, and the Struggle with 'Battle vs. Massacre'". 44th Annual Algonquian Conference, University of Chicago, November, 2012.
- Actual paper has not been released for publication yet, details will be released, here.
- "Chicago's First Urban Indians: The Potawatomi", 2011.
- Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's) University of Michigan DeepBlue.
- "The Architecture of Simon Pokagon- In Text and on Display", Ogimawkwe mitigwaki = Queen of the Woods*, Michigan State University Press, 2010.
- Project Muse
- Contributor to Indians of the Midwest. The Newberry Library, 2009.
* Links provided require a sign in to Project Muse.
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