Kentucky Myth of “The Dark and Bloody Ground”: Mississippian Culture (1000 C.E.-1539 C.E.)

By Caleb Flege

Last time we discussed the myth that Kentucky had no inhabitants until the European settled here, and I said that this post would be about the first peoples of Kentucky. I was wrong. Due to a lack of information and my ability to turn that information into an interesting post, I have decided to skip ahead for now to a more recent time period. Between (1000-1539 C.E.) there are two distinct societies in Kentucky, and those who study this have separated them by those who lived in the Eastern part of the region and those who lived to the West. Both of these were hunter-gatherer-farmer societies.

Those who lived to the west have since been named the Mississippian Culture. This society seems to have come to Kentucky in the far western flood plains around 900 B.C.E.  By what is considered the end of this culture’s time, they would occupy western, central, and southeastern Kentucky and up the Ohio River all the way to the falls. Now, this group did not just inhabit Kentucky, they occupied the Midwest and areas southeast of what is now the United States. However, for the purpose of this blog, we will be talking about those in the area of Kentucky.

The Mississippians farmed corn, squash, beans, and gourds; this made up the majority of their diet. They did gather some plants for consumption and for medicinal purposes. The women performed domestic duties such as child rearing, farming, and making clothing and pottery. The tools used in farming and clothing production were made of bone, shell, and stone. The men in this society made tools, hunted, and performed political and religious duties. They hunted deer, turkey, and other small animals with the use of bow and arrows. The villages ranged from small single- family homesteads to fortified towns such as one that was discovered in what is now known as Marshal County, named the Jonathan Creek Village.  Other Mississippian towns found in Kentucky include the Wickliffe Mounds in Ballard County, Kentucky, near the town of Wickliffe, and some mounds attributed to the Mississippian culture have also been found along the Green River in Kentucky. There are many mounds found within the state, but the origins are either that of a different society or are not known. I personally did not know these mounds existed in Kentucky, and I hope to go see many of these different sites.

Native History for Ky Teachers, Gwen Henderson and David Pollack

http://lexhistory.org/edu/not-just-hunting-ground-native-americans-kentucky

Kentucky Myth of “The Dark and Bloody Ground”: Intro to the Myth and the First Peoples.

By Caleb Flege

When I was younger I was taught all sorts of things, and as a child I had to believe those things, because I had no reason not to. As we grow, we begin to learn that the truth isn’t always true and that the winners wrote our history; because of that, it is our responsibility to learn the truth we were never taught. Growing up in Kentucky and learning about the “Indians,” I was always told that they never lived here. I was told Kentucky was their sacred hunting ground and that they only stayed here for short periods while hunting or traveling through. Later on in my education, that story was ingrained deeper when I heard the myth of “the Dark and Bloody ground”. This myth is believed to have originated from a native leader by the name of Dragging Canoe in 1775 at a treaty negotiation where the Cherokee nation would lose a large portion of what is now Kentucky to Richard Henderson’s Transylvania Company. What Dragging Canoe reportedly said was that “a dark cloud hung over the land, known as the Bloody Ground”. What the white people distorted this to mean was “that a conflict existed between Indian groups over Kentucky lands and that, therefore, the land was not claimed by any of them. Thus, if Kentucky was not the property of any particular Indian group, land speculators could justify selling this “free” land to settlers; and the settlers had every right to move in and establish farms.” Others believe it was meant as a premonition of the wars that would be fought over Kentucky. Either way, the myth that no one lived here is just that, a myth, and there is ample proof to dispel it. Kentucky’s Myth of “The Dark and Bloody Ground” will be a bi-weekly (hopefully) blog that explores the rich history of Kentucky natives from 9500 B.C.E to present day. Read more “Kentucky Myth of “The Dark and Bloody Ground”: Intro to the Myth and the First Peoples.”

On Being Outside

by Aloyce Riziki

It the voices of birds chirping joyfully,

The sound of trees swaying gracefully,

The flow of creeks burbling gently,

That makes me appreciate nature’s rhapsody.

It’s watching the squirrels moving cautiously,

Avoiding the bugs bugging endlessly,

Admiring the butterflies flying meticulously,

That reminds me to be alive and even more, mindfully.

It’s the sound of raindrops in the quiet forest,

The occasional touch of sunrays penetrating leaves,

The feeling of calm gentle wind across my skin,

That awakens my sense of gratitude and grace.

It’s the steepness and flatness of the hiking paths,

The roughness and gentleness of the soil structure,

The brown, dark grey and green colors of the flora,

That teaches me to find colors in the black & white lifestyle.

It’s the spectacular view after the hard climb,

The pause at the top allows for a reflection on the journey,

It makes me appreciate the ups and downs of the process,

Reminding me to embrace my own life’s hike.

Knowing the goal is as important as the process.

Go outside, be open to the outside, and learn from the Outside!

A Time For Pause

By Michelle Berendsen

A Time for Pause

When the cold settles, the earth grows quiet.
When the cold settles, the world pauses.
When the cold settles, change happens.

The bear… wanting naught but food and slumber.
The grass… wilting and falling beneath the snow.
The lost animal… pining for its reunion with summer.

They know this is not forever.
They understand this is a time to prepare.
They feel the knowledge the earth lends.

Read more “A Time For Pause”