had a good road trip over the memorial day week end. traffic wasnt all that bad since i took the two lanes across the middle of nowhere. you see more of america that way. i like to stop to see the little tourist attractions. like this one up the road. i have passed it many times but never stopped to see it. it is supposed to be a monument to indians. this artist has many of them across the country. it is probably the biggest indian i have ever seen. he had that wooden look that some bureaucrats have if you ever have to ask them for something. i know council people and program directors like that. you just want to see ‘hey we just alike’ but you see this look and know it would mean nothing.
i was motoring down the road and passed a catfish buffet sign. i normally dont double back on my tracks, but i turned around to eat there. it was just a little roadside diner. the food was great. i ate two catfish and had shrimp. i cleaned them carcasses better than a cat. i plan to stop there again.
i stopped in hannibal to walk along the mississippi river. sitting in a car makes my back hurt, so i gotta stretch. there is a little shop along the river front that sells ice cream cones. at two bucks a dip, its a bit pricey but worth it. i have stopped there a few times now. i was leery of stopping there the first time. i read twain and remember he used terms such as nigger jim and injun joe. musta been just the vernacular of the day. the people there are friendly. but then tourist traps have to be, if they want business.
i made it to quincy not long after that. had to stop at a garage sale. all my stops added two hours to the trip. i never go straight to anywhere. i stayed at the home of the archaeologist that sponsored the bus tour i was to go on. the tour was nice. i had a seat reserved in the front of the bus, didnt have to sit in the back. come along way. we stopped at about 20 mounds. they are located on a bluff overlooking the mississippi river. quite a view for the living. most of them were overgrown with trees now though. back then it would have been an unobstructed view. it is still a beautiful place tho.
there were hundreds buried there. back in 1929 they dug up 69 natives. no one knows where their remains are today, probably on a shelf. the artifacts have disappeared also, probably in the hands of collectors. the first stop we made was to a present day cemetary. it is located on the mounds indians built a thousand years ago. it wasnt explained what happened to the natives buried there. the last three mounds are located on a tract that a developer is trying to sell for 25 thou. it is one acre. he is aware of the history of the place and said it didnt matter. when told indians held the place sacred he again replied he didnt care. there will be an effort to reclaim that acre.
there were two other skinjuns on the tour. we stopped at the temple mound. i told them i wasnt into street theater or putting on a show but i wanted to smoke my pipe with the old ancestors. their spirits had been disrespected so many times. they agreed. so we went to the top and smoked. we became bros after that.
we had to walk down a path to see some of the mounds. there were really overgrown with vegetation. if we didnt have the archaeologists along to point out where the mounds were, we would have missed them. there will be an effort to clear the mounds of all that, and restore them back to what they looked liked before. and it will be possible to view the river as they did when the mounds were built.
most of the people on this first tour were people that want to protect the sites. many of them had never seen an indian before. some young boy wanted to have his picture taken with me. but he was afraid to ask. the hostess i stayed with said just go ask him. so he did. and i told him sure. i posed with the kid and put my hand on his shoulder. gotta have good public relations. these are people that want to help. i remember in the past that some indians burned down the people that were trying to help them. better to educate than hate.
that night one of the other indians had a sweat at his house. he invited us over, so we went. i told my host that i didnt think i would be going to a sweat in quincy. i thought i would be drinking lattes and eating croissants. it was nice. we had buffalo stew afterward. i see our herd of buffalo here but rarely get to eat any. i gave the bro living there a gift, and he gave me a gift. i didnt have anything to give the other bro, but my friendship. i made two new friends.
i was in quincy last fall on the retracing of the trail of death. back in 1838 potawatomis were marched thru there at gun point. they were kept isolated from the local populace because they didnt want any liquor to reach them. they ferried them across the mississippi. at that point many knew they wouldnt see their homeland again.
the other archaeologist of the tour gave me his card. i gave him mine. he has a friend on the illinois river. the guy owns the land that senajwin is buried on, he was a headman of the potawatomi. i told the archaeologist i want to go see that mound where our ancestor is buried. he said he would arrange it with the landowner. that is a future road trip.
now i have chores to catch up with……