Canku Ota logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 6, 2001 - Issue 46


pictograph divider


 Heritage Celebrated


 by Ryan Reynolds-Evansville Courier and Press-September 30, 2001

Consider Rick Lampson a nature-loving kind of guy.

When he’s away from his Vine Grove, Ky., home for work, he’s putting in eight hours a day as a ranger for the National Parks Service.

The free time — the moments he cherishes most — are spent expressing his affection for the outdoors as part of his Native American heritage.

Lampson, 33, said he is a descendant of the Mohawk tribes of northern New York. He is one of a crowd of Native Americans and artifact, culture and learning enthusiasts flocking to Angel Mounds State Historic Site this weekend for Native American Days.

“If you want to educate people about our culture, go to the art,” said Lampson, standing near an assortment of “regalia” that included a “gustoweh” — a Mohawk headdress reserved for special ceremonies — as well as a ball-headed war club, a shield with a bear painted on the front and a dance staff that could double as a walking cane.

The weekend is also a chance for Angel Mounds, a 15th century Mississippian Indian site, to show off the end results of a two-year, $2.5 million construction project at the visitors center.

Inside, adults and children wandered through a life-size diorama of the tribe members going through their daily routines — everything from hunting to gathering crops.

“It’s neat. It’s like I can reach out there and touch them and be a part of it,” said one youngster, Jeffrey Powell.

Children also took advantage of hands-on opportunities to learn about identifying trees, crops and other parts of Mississippian life.

Outside, crowds gathered around an arena lined with hay bales for seating. Inside the ring, dancers stepped off to the sound of four different drum groups alternately keeping the beat nearby.

“We come up here for a sense of fun and family and togetherness more than than the (dancing) competition,” said Tony Nava, a Louisville, Ky., man who said his mother is Cherokee and his father is Pascua Yaqui.

“We’ve been doing this for years,” he added. “There’s always a powwow you can go to every weekend, so we try to go.”

Additionally, children gathered around storytellers. Organizers said one of the women spinning the tales, Veronica McCaffry, is an Eastern Band Cherokee.

Other available activities included feather bustle work, beadwork, stone tools, flint knapping, basket making, shell and bone carving and finger weaving.

“Whenever you get a chance to go somewhere with your kids where they can have fun and do things with their hands as they learn, it’s good,” said Chris Russell, who brought two young children to Angel Mounds on Saturday.

What kept the day running smoothly, organizers said, was the army of volunteers who helped with a variety of tasks, from picking up trash to leading crafts demonstrations.

Julie Smith, the museum specialist for Angel Mounds, said 330 people are scheduled to volunteer for duty over the three-day celebration.

"We only have a staff of seven people (at Angel Mounds)," Smith said. "So we couldn’t do this without them."

   Maps by Travel

The Moundbuilders
The Mississippians, as they are known, erected dozens--perhaps thousands--of earthworks across the Delta and the southeast when Europeans were living through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Who Were the Mound-Builders?
Most people are aware of the great civilizations of Egypt and Mexico, but few, realize there were great civilizations in North America as well.

pictograph divider



pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


Canku Ota logo


Canku Ota logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.