A group of students involved in Campus Ministry will soon embark on a day-long tour of a part of American history that is often forgotten and neglected, and it’s right in our own backyard.
Saturday, April 27, the group will get up at 4 a.m. to visit four ancient mounds that were built thousands of years ago by Native American tribes. They will be visiting mound sites that are scattered throughout Ohio, including two of the most famous Native American sites in the north, Mound City and Serpent Mound.
Campus Ministry Graduate Assistant and chaperone for the trip, David Parker, had visited these mounds while he was an undergraduate at Youngstown State University.
“Until you see it, you don’t know how amazing it is,” Parker said.
The first site the group will visit is Mound City in Ross County, Ohio. The mounds there were built by the Hopewell indigenous group nearly 2,000 years ago. The last stop on the trip will be Fort Ancient in Warren County, Ohio, which not only consists of mounds but also ancient stone structures.
“It’s one huge day of driving,” said Parker. “We’ve been mulling the idea of going on this trip for about three years… and finally we got down to it and said ‘why can’t we do it?’.”
Parker hopes that the trip will educate students on the extensive history of the Native Americans that started long before Europeans arrived to the continent.
“When we talk about Native Americans we always think about the 1700s and the 1800s… but 13,000 years ago there were people living here in this area, not just getting along but thriving,” Parker said.
These mounds are not just a testament to the rich post-colonial history of the country, they are also a way for people to diversify their knowledge of religious traditions.
“With this tour we are trying to tie Native Americans to modern day students,” Parker said. “And we’re trying to do it through understanding about beliefs, and rituals and practice.”
The group is planning on returning to campus about 11 p.m. on Saturday. At the time of the interview, there were still five spots left for people interested in attending the mound tour.
If you are interested, contact Campus Ministry Graduate Assistant David Parker at email@example.com.