Honor the Mounds this weekend at Beattie Park

Honor the Mounds this weekend at Beattie Park


The Seventh Annual Honor the Mounds festival will be held from 10 am. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 10, at Beattie Park in downtown Rockford.

Presented by the Native American Awareness Committee, the event will feature the lighting of a sacred fire, opening prayer and pipe ceremony, speakers, Native American drums and dancing, flute performance, and presentation of a history of Beattie Park and custodianship of the land.

Some highlights include: 10:30 a.m.:

l Dick Rundell of Rock Valley College will speak about the Medicine Wheel and the unity of people. 11:00 a.m.

l Grand entry with Native American drums and dancing. 1:00 p.m.

l Dave Vanpernis will give a history of Beattie Park and custodianship of the land. 3:30 p.m.

l Joseph Standing Bear of Midwest SOARRING will speak about current Native American issues.

Demonstrations of Native American arts will include beading, wigwam fire starting, nettle weaving, flint knapping, drum making, crafts and hide tanning. Visitors can view the living history displays and listen to storytelling or participate in Native American children’s games.

Beattie Park was originally the homestead of the Beattie family from 1845 through 1921. It was also a site which Native American peoples used as a site to practice their rituals and ceremonial rites in the area between the current walk path across the park and the Rock River.

Upon the sisters’ death in 1921, the land was generously donated to the Rockford Park District with the stipulation that the mounds and trees be preserved and kept in a natural state, as a place for relaxation, contemplation and meditation. The mounds have been estimated archaeologists to have been constructed between 600-800 A.D. There are also several unique qualities about this site of Native American mounds which honor harmony and balance between Mother Earth and nature.

Three types of mounds were constructed by the Native Peoples of the Woodland Culture: conical or round mounds, linear mounds (which were long and straight), and effigy mounds (which were in the form of an animal). These types of Woodland Culture mound are found in Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, eastern Iowa, Michigan and the top two tiers of counties in Illinois.

Beattie Park is the only site in Illinois where all three styles of mounds can be seen at one location. There were 183 scientifically recorded mounds in Winnebago County, with estimates that there may have been as many as 2,000 mounds in existence at the turn of the century in 1800. Of the mounds recorded, 126 were conical or linear-type mounds, and 26 were effigy-style mounds. Today there are only 15 conical, six linear and three effigy mounds still in existence.

Participating vendors in this event are: Native Sounds, Cherokee Nation and Indian Art, Dream Catchers, Bertha Baker, Deer Clan Traders, Native American Warrior Art, Living Drums, Betsy & Ruth Sine: art and crafts, Cutter Creek and Rainbow Traders.

Come on out to Beattie Park and learn about the history of the Rock River Valley.

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