Inheritors to hold Healing of the Mounds ceremony June 15

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The Dallas County Conservation Board (DCCB) will join the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) in a very special Healing of the Mounds ceremony Saturday, June 15, from 2-5 p.m. at the Kuehn Conservation Area near Earlham.

On the ridge at Kuehn, overlooking the Raccoon River valley, are a series of Native American burial mounds. The presence of these mounds has been instrumental in the origination and evolution of the Prairie Awakening-Prairie Awoke Celebration over the past 20 years.

Long before this land was brought under public ownership and management by white settlers, the burial mounds were desecrated. A large hole was dug into the mound, undoubtedly for the purpose of looting this sacred site.

Over the past decades, as the First Nations Peoples joined with whites in the Prairie Awakening-Prairie Awoke Celebration at Kuehn, they have performed the needed drumming, song, dance and ceremonies to heal this scar on the landscape. In accord with the spiritual traditions of these Nations, the mounds were healed.

The OSA, however, wished to continue this healing process, to physically heal the mounds by filling in the excavated scar. The Native community agreed to participate in this action and will guide the June 15 ceremony in order to continue the healing.

In the arena at Kuehn, this program will begin with a presentation by the OSA detailing the archaeological story of the peoples this science terms the Woodland Culture, who were the builders of these burial mounds at Kuehn.

This presentation will review what archaeologists have learned of these first peoples of Kuehn and the history of the Woodland Culture in the Raccoon River valley. Following this presentation, representatives of the Native community will tell the story of these mounds and their builders, through the eyes of the Native Culture.

Following these presentations, participants will be invited to join in the act of physically healing the mounds. Individuals able to engage in this ceremonial act will carry soil up from the river bottoms at Kuehn to the valley ridge and place the sacred soil in the mound’s scar.

Transportation to site of the mounds will be available for participants unable to summit the valley ridge, and they will share the soil. Together with spiritual elders from the Native community, the healing ceremony will take place, erasing the scar on our landscape.

To register for this program, contact the Dallas County Conservation Board office at 515-465-3577 or conservation@dallascountyiowa.gov.

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