Written by Amy Nicolai, AmeriCorps Member

On the chilly (but very sunny) morning of Nov. 22, Rural Action’s Environmental Education team visited two local spots to celebrate Native American heritage and history in our region. The mound by the Dow Lake Dam at Strouds Run State Park was the first stop. The mound itself is elusive, as there is no signage indicating its whereabouts and trees grow all about the ridge, but we followed the trails that surround the general area.

Using Google Maps, a screenshot image of a paper map, and Carrie’s cotton bandana map of the park, we knew we were in the right area. Ridges contain many round shapes on top, so we weren’t sure of the mound’s exact location, but there was one mound that seemed a little too symmetrical to have been created by nature’s hand alone. We eventually stopped on the north side of a trail to rest and chat.

The conversations varied, but the main discussions revolved around the choices that Indigenous people made regarding the burial of their dead and the scarcity of documentation about their existence and lives. Carrie then invited us to talk about what we are thankful for. The team itself and our opportunity to serve in Environmental Education at Rural Action was the top theme.

The Plains’ not-so-hidden Hartman Mound on Mound Street was our second stop. The signage at the location offers information about the significance of the Adena presence there and in the entire Hocking region.

Out of 30 earthworks discovered in The Plains in the 1800s, only six remain. Who now lives or works on the hallowed ground nobody can see? But if you want to find out where the other five are, there is a map at the site that will show you where else to explore.

According to educational signage on site, “The Plains has the third largest concentration of Adena burial mounds and circular enclosures in the Eastern United States.” Third largest!

It occurs to the writer of this article that Rural Action is centered in a geographical community that once housed generations of people whose culture prioritized communal work that benefitted and cared for the whole. As they say, “Like attracts like.”

Thanks to Bryce Hoehn and Dan Vorisek for location ideas. This was a great team-building and team-bonding experience for everyone. Pictured left to right are: Amy Nicolai, Joanna Gallagher, Anna Haught, Carrie Vieland, Shan Klemens, and Bryce Hoehn.

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