List of illustrations

  • Birdstone
  • Effigy Tumuli: Water Strider, Frog, and Catfish
  • Two rectangular gorgets
  • Chronological Chart
  • Map of the Midwest and South
  • Deer mask
  • Rendering of Poverty Point
  • Parakeet effigy bead
  • Grave Creek Mound, an Adena burial mound
  • Map of Hopewell earthworks near Frankfort, Ohio, on North Paint Creek in Ross County
  • Plan of Pinson Mounds, Madison County, Tennessee
  • View looking north toward Monks Mound at Cahokia, the largest Mississippian settlement
  • Engraved shell gorget with feline and hawk
  • Effigy of a mythic horned animal
  • Fragment of an engraved whelk shell with an Underwater Panther or piasa
  • Birdstone
  • Birdstone
  • Birdstone
  • Hourglass-shaped bannerstone
  • Hourglass-shaped bannerstone
  • Hourglass-shaped bannerstone
  • Bowtie bannerstone
  • Double-edged bannerstone
  • Reel-shaped bannerstone
  • Bottle-shaped bannerstone
  • Notched ovate bannerstone
  • Bannerstone
  • Two atlatl hooks and weights
  • Cache of three bannerstones (two hooked type and one hourglass-shaped)
  • Notched ovate bannerstone
  • Axe head
  • Cache of 32 bifacial blades
  • Monolithic axe
  • Ceremonial celt
  • Ceremonial celt
  • Blackfoot Medicine Man, Performing His Mysteries over a Dying Man
  • Wolf skull mask
  • The great Serpent Mound, set along Ohio Brush Creek
  • Kneeling human-feline effigy figure
  • Map of earthworks and Crawfordsville, Wisconsin
  • Map of the earthworks at Mound City, north of Chillicothe, in Ross County, Ohio
  • Hawk effigy platform pipe
  • Owl effigy pipe
  • Blind wolf pipe
  • Wolf tube pipe
  • Human effigy pipe
  • Human effigy pipe
  • Engraved whelk shell with two intertwined snake-men
  • Drawing of two intertwined snake-men from engraved whelk shell
  • Bilobed-arrow headdress
  • Ceremonial blade
  • Etowah
  • The Green Corn festival begins
  • Men gather to perform the Feather Dance
  • Plan of the Ocevpofv square ground, a traditional Creek ceremonial site in eastern Oklahoma
  • Plan of the Ocevpofv Green Corn ground
  • Beaver effigy platform pipe
  • Wilmington tablet
  • Berlin tablet
  • Low tablet
  • Headless torso
  • Atlatl effigy
  • Serpent effigy
  • Ornamental deer ear
  • Scroll ornament
  • Seated female figurine
  • Kneeling male figurine
  • Six-fingered-hand pipe
  • Bird and fish effigy pipe
  • Double goose pipe
  • Raptor effigy pipe
  • Elongated bird head
  • Raven effigy pipe
  • Rodent (squirrel?) effigy platform pipe; young feline effigy platform pipe; and turtle effigy platform pipe
  • Effigy platform pipe of a heron eating a fish
  • Effigy platform pipe of a heron eating a fish
  • Otter effigy platform pipe
  • Otter effigy platform pipe
  • Raven effigy platform pipe
  • Raven effigy platform pipe
  • Dog effigy platform pipe
  • Bird claw cutout
  • Ohio River valley Hopewell clay figurines display elaborate patterns of hairstyles
  • Figurine
  • Figurine
  • Figurine
  • Figurine
  • Figurine
  • Hand cutout
  • Human profile cutout
  • Ceremonial blade
  • Three ceremonial blades
  • Effigy of a human thumb
  • Four boatstones
  • Convoluted shamanic themes on bone tubes
  • Wolf effigy pipe
  • Panther effigy pipe
  • Blocked-end tube pipe
  • Hopewell ware jar
  • Hopewell-related zoned jar (Alligator Bayou Stamped)
  • Seated falcon effigy platform pipe
  • Falcon effigy platform pipe
  • Bird and owl effigy pipe
  • Wolf effigy pipe
  • The Miamisburg Mound
  • Map of High Bank Works, Ross County, Ohio
  • Comparative distribution of large Woodland mounds in the Scioto River valley of Ohio showing spatial concentration of Hopewell ceremonialism c. AD 50
  • Map of earthworks at the Baum site on the south bank of Paint Creek west of Chillicothe, in Ross County, Ohio
  • Map of Seip Earthworks on the north bank of Paint Creek west of Chillicothe, in Ross County, Ohio
  • Schematic plans of Ohio Hopewell earthen enclosures
  • Two centrally placed, superimposed basins and floors under Mound 18, Mound City, Ross County, Ohio
  • Schematic cross-section of Mound 25, Hopewell site, Ross County, Ohio
  • View of the Observatory Circle and Octagon, part of the Newark Earthworks in Licking County, Ohio
  • View of the Great Circle, a portion of the Newark Earthworks measuring 1,200 feet in diameter
  • View looking east over a portion of the Newark Earthworks
  • Map of the Newark Earthworks
  • Map of the Newark Earthworks
  • Map of the Newark Earthworks
  • Diagram showing the maximum and minimum points of the moon's rising and setting as observed from the Octagon and Observatory Circle at the Newark Eartworks
  • Diagram of parallel-displaced relationship between the Great Circle in Newark and the Observatory Circle between the Square and Octagon
  • Shaman wearing the head and hide of a bear, known as the Wray figurine
  • Map of the Scioto River valley at Chillicothe
  • International Indian Council (Held at Tahlequah, Indian Territory, 1843), detail
  • Portrait of Saucy Calf
  • Ethnologist and Omaha tribe member Francis La Flesche (1857–1932)
  • Map of the eastern half of North America showing the path of French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643–1687)
  • Map of the Southeast showing the path of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto (1496–1542) from 1539 to 1543
  • Map of Indian tribal regions of the lower Mississippi and adjacent Gulf Coast
  • Map of greater southeastern United States showing Indian lands and communities
  • International Indian Council (Held at Tahlequah, Indian Territory, 1843)
  • View looking southwest over Monks Mound and the grand ceremonial plaza of Cahokia in St. Clair County, Illinois
  • French map of Illinois region
  • Prehistoric Indian Mounds Opposite St. Louis
  • Trappists Hill Opposite St. Louis
  • Early map of the Mississippi River near Cahokia
  • View looking northwest across the ceremonial and residential center of Cahokia
  • Cache of projectile points
  • Ramey Incised pottery of the type found at Cahokia
  • View looking east toward Monks Mound across the reconstructed woodhenge at Cahokia
  • Offering the Skin of a Stag to the Sun
  • Aerial view of Cahokia
  • View of Cahokia, looking southwest over Monks Mound, the Grand Plaza, and two other, well-preserved mounds
  • Engraved whelk shell depicting Birdman
  • Engraved shell gorget depicting a chunkey player
  • Engraved whelk shell depicting Birdman
  • Engraved whelk shell with two figures confronting a serpent staff
  • Engraved whelk shell with snake and talons motif
  • Drawing of engraved whelk shell with two figures confronting a serpent staff
  • Projected development of Braden, Craig, Hemphill, and Hightower styles
  • Engraved whelk shell with paired figures confronting a serpent staff or pole
  • Engraved whelk shell with "Tree of Fur and Feathers" motif
  • Engraved whelk shell depicting intertwined, two-headed serpents
  • Chunkey Player effigy pipe, with chunkey stone in right hand and chunkey sticks in left
  • Chunkey stone
  • Chunkey stone
  • Chunkey stone
  • Chunkey stone
  • Chunkey stone
  • Chunkey stone
  • Chunkey stone
  • Chunkey stone
  • Map of the central Cahokia area showing the principal mounds, ceremonial plazas, and projected palisade
  • Map of the American Bottom, c. 1800, showing the principal mound groups and other nonmound archaeological sites
  • Engraved shell gorget with pair of figures
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting Birdman
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting a falcon
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting a double-headed falcon
  • Engraved whelk shell with Akron Grid motif
  • Ramey Incised vessel illustrating the deployment of ritually significant motifs surrounding a central opening
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting forked-eye-surrounds and concentric circles
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting a severed head surrounded by running arrowheads
  • Drawing of an engraved whelk shell showing Birdman rising within an arc of annular elements surrounded by running arrows
  • Underwater Panther effigy vessel with engraved swirls of the blocked-line motif
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting two dancing Birdman figures (?)
  • Wooden maskette
  • Effigy pipe of kneeling female figure holding maize and sunflower plants
  • Hypothetical model of the Native American cosmos
  • Engraved shell gorget with Birdman vessel and severed heads
  • Drawing of an engraved whelk shell showing four Underwater Panthers or piasas surrounding a cross-in-circle motif
  • Engraved whelk shell with four winged serpents surrounding a cross-in-circle motif
  • Drawing of four winged serpents engraved on shell
  • Six common motifs on engraved whelk shells from the Craig Mound at Spiro, Oklahoma
  • Drawing of an engraved whelk shell
  • Drawing of intertwined horned serpents from a vessel known as the Centi pot, found at the Chucalissa site near Memphis
  • Engraved whelk shell with droopy-eye-surrounds
  • A three-dimensional visualization of an engraved shell gorget from the Craig Mound at Spiro, Oklahoma, showing two dancing figures on either side of a striped centerpole
  • Underwater Panther effigy pipe
  • Effigy pipe of a seated male figure, known as the Resting Warrior and identified as Morning Star or Red Horn in related legendary accounts
  • Effigy pipe of a seated male figure, known as the Resting Warrior and identified as Morning Star or Red Horn in related legendary accounts
  • Long-Nosed God ear ornament
  • Crouching Man effigy pipe
  • Kneeling female effigy; known in archaeological literature as the Keller figurine
  • Effigy figurine of a mythical woman, possibly Our Grandmother or Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies, hoeing an earth-serpent; known in archaeological literature as the Birger figurine
  • Effigy figurine of a mythical woman, possibly Our Grandmother or Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies, hoeing an earth-serpent; known in archaeological literature as the Birger figurine
  • Effigy pipe of a crouching man holding a deer and rattle; known in archaeological literature as Grizzly Man or the Kneeling Rattler
  • Seated female effigy vessel; known as Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies
  • Seated female effigy vessel; known as Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies
  • Frog effigy pipe
  • Frog vessel
  • Human effigy pipe
  • Kneeling figurine effigy pipe
  • Kneeling female effigy vessel
  • The landscape of the Middle World reflecting the Upper World is seen in a natural spring in Camden County, Missouri
  • Petroglyph site in Monroe County, Illinois, with an incised hand
  • Nursing mother effigy bottle
  • Kneeling female figurine with tattoos
  • Various avian motifs
  • A victorious Birdman holding a mace and standing over a supine figure
  • Petroglyph panel at the Three Hills Creek site in St. Francois County, Missouri
  • Drawing of bird image from the petroglyph panel at the Three Hills Creek site in St. Francois County, Missouri
  • Vessel in the form of a kneeling female figure
  • A sampling of the vulvar motifs found in Missouri petroglyphs
  • Ceremonial mace
  • Mace petroglyph
  • Dancing Warrior at Rattlesnake Bluff
  • Pictograph panel of the Black Warrior
  • Osage headdress
  • Pictograph panel of the Giant
  • Drawing of an engraved shell cup showing a figure with shoulder tattoos of concentric circles
  • Long-Nosed God maskette ear ornaments
  • Close-up of Morning Star pictograph panel, showing white shell maskette ear ornament
  • Morning Star figure from petroglyph panel at the Maddin Creek site
  • Bilobed arrows, petaloid cross-in-circle motif, vulva form, and a type of eye marking or ogee symbol found in petroglyph
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting Birdman; one of two so-called Rogan plates
  • View looking northwest over Etowah
  • Changes in the Etowah site plan from AD 1100–1500
  • Panoramic view of Etowah
  • Map showing the development of chiefdom capitals in the Etowah River valley
  • Seated male and kneeling female figures
  • Kneeling ancestor effigy
  • Kneeling human effigy figurine
  • Kneeling human effigy figurine
  • Construction stages of Mound C
  • Composite plan of various excavations at Mound C, showing Late Wilbanks phase burials, AD 1325–1375
  • Copper repoussé plate depicting Birdman; one of the two so-called Rogan plates
  • Engraved shell gorget with turkey-cocks
  • Engraved shell gorget with cross-in-circle design
  • Engraved shell gorget with triskele design
  • Disc with ogee motif and scallop design
  • Disc with ogee motif and scallop design
  • Distribution of annular, triskele, cruciform, turkey-cocks, and anthropomorphic gorgets at Mound C, Etowah
  • Five gorget types represented in burials in Mound C at Etowah
  • Engraved shell mask
  • Engraved shell mask
  • Engraved shell mask
  • Engraved shell gorget with single figure
  • Engraved shell gorget with double dancers
  • Engraved shell gorget with rattlesnake design
  • Engraved shell gorget with rattlesnake design
  • Polished spud stone
  • Polished spud stone
  • Spatulate baton
  • Engraved circular palette with hand-and-eye motif and intertwined serpents; known in archaeological literature as the Rattlesnake Disk
  • View of Moundville, Tuscaloosa and Hale Counties, Alabama
  • View looking south over Moundville as it may have appeared in the 13th century
  • View of Moundville, Tuscaloosa and Hale Counties, Alabama
  • Plan of Moundville
  • Common themes on Hemphill-style pottery from Moundville
  • Jar with incised hands
  • Cup with incised skull motif
  • Long-necked globular bottle with negative resist design
  • Tripod vessel with negative resist design
  • Engraved circular palette with intertwined plumed serpents; known in archaeological literature as the Issaquena Disk
  • Engraved circular palette with hand motif, one of the earliest examples of this type
  • Engraved circular palette; known in archaeological literature as the Willoughby Disk
  • Oblong pendant with swastika and hand-and-eye motif
  • Oblong pendant with rayed circle, ogee, and hand-and-eye motif
  • Hair ornament
  • Piasa effigy pipe
  • Bowl with serpent/bird effigy
  • Bowl with serpent/bird effigy
  • Drawing of the incising on the underside of a limestone bowl
  • Engraved shell gorget with piasa
  • The Town of Secota
  • Ball Play of the Choctaw—Ball Up
  • Native American students at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, founded in 1868, were taught to play baseball as part of their assimilation into American culture
  • Crouching hunter effigy
  • Hunting Deer
  • How They Catch Fish
  • Engraved whelk shell showing fish being speared
  • Map of the Trails of Tears, showing the paths of forced removal of five Native American tribes from their homelands in the Southeast
  • Engraved shell gorget with supernatural warrior holding a severed head and mace
  • Town of Pomeiock
  • Outina Consults a Sorcerer
  • Outina's Order of March
  • Exercises of the Youths
  • Engraved shell gorget with two figures engaged in mortal combat
  • Crouching warrior effigy pipe
  • Kneeling prisoner effigy pipe
  • Bound captive effigy pipe
  • Ceremonial mace
  • Ceremonial mace
  • Copper repoussé plate
  • Copper repoussé plate
  • A Council of State
  • Hawk and human head effigy pipe
  • Conquering Warrior effigy pipe
  • Conquering Warrior effigy pipe
  • Raptor talon effigy
  • Raptor talon effigy
  • Sword
  • Chipped stone blade
  • Profile of a human head
  • Chipped stone disk
  • Engraved whelk shell with warriors' heads motif
  • Drawing of a engraved whelk shell
  • Engraved whelk shell with bows and eyes motif
  • Trophies and Ceremonies after a Victory
  • Monolithic axe
  • Monolithic axe
  • Monolithic axe
  • Vessel with bones and hand motifs
  • Wide-necked jar with human hand design
  • Great Serpent/Underwater Panther vessel
  • Engraved shell gorget
  • Drawing of the five elements in a Cox Mound gorget
  • Engraved shell gorget with turkey-cocks
  • Plan of the Kealedji square ground, a traditional Creek ceremonial site in eastern Oklahoma, as reordered by John R. Swanton of the Bureau of American Ethnology
  • Globular bottle
  • Representation of a Cox Mound gorget in three dimensions
  • Drawing of an engraved shell gorget with turkey-cocks
  • Bottle with ogee and hand-and-eye motifs
  • Representation of the Hand constellation just before it falls below the western horizon
  • The star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus stands at the dividing point of the Milky Way
  • Engraved bottle with winged serpent
  • Constellation of Scorpius or the Scorpion, showing the winged serpent
  • Engraved whelk shell with horned serpent motif
  • Wide-necked bottle with curvilinear swastika design
  • Great Serpent/Underwater Panther vessel
  • Great Serpent/Underwater Panther vessel, with swastika on back of head
  • Bottle with Underwater Serpents
  • Engraved shell gorget with water spider motif
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Map of the central Mississippi River valley
  • Long-necked globular bottle with interlocking scrolls
  • Long-necked globular bottle with interlocking scrolls
  • Long-necked globular bottle
  • Long-necked globular bottle with scalp lock motif
  • Underwater Panther effigy vessel
  • Seated human effigy vessel
  • Crouching deer effigy vessel
  • Deer effigy vessel
  • Fish effigy jar
  • Bottle with possum head effigy
  • Frog effigy jar
  • Long-necked gadrooned bottle
  • Teapot" bottle with interlocking scrolls
  • Long-necked globular bottle with mask motif
  • Spouted head vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Human head effigy vessel
  • Water jar
  • Map of the Caddo area of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas
  • Long-necked globular bottle
  • Map of Upper Nasoni, a principal Caddo town
  • Three vessels
  • Two vessels of the Dunkin Incised type
  • Vessel
  • Engraved whelk shell showing a ritual figure with a shell necklace and raccoon
  • Three vessels of the Spiro Engraved type
  • Burnished tripod bottle
  • Engraved jar with protuberant footing
  • Engraved jar
  • Engraved cylindrical bottle
  • Engraved tripod bottle
  • Engraved tripod vessel
  • Engraved egg-shaped bottle
  • Engraved egg-shaped bottle
  • Engraved cylindrical jar
  • Engraved redware bottle
  • Animal effigy vessel
  • Animal effigy vessel
  • Seed jar with fire clouds
  • Seed jar with fire clouds
  • Seed jar with fire clouds
  • Stirrup spout bottle
  • Engraved bottle
  • Round-bottomed flared vessel
  • Wide-necked vessel
  • Pair of earspools, 8-pointed star motif
  • Pair of earspools, 6-pointed star motif
  • Pair of earspools, 8-pointed star motif
  • Tripod bottle
  • Engraved bottle with chevron bands and petaloid motifs, hematite-rubbed
  • Engraved egg-shaped bottle with interlocking serpent design
  • Scalloped-rim vessel
  • Tripod bottle with arched band designs
  • Engraved double bottle
  • Water vessel
  • Engraved vessel with rayed concentric oval motif
  • Engraved vessel with arched bands and "lazy S" motifs
  • Portrait of Tecumseh (1768–1813)
  • Treaty between Shawnee, Delaware, and Mingo Indians and Great Britain, signed in 1765
  • Treaty signed at Fort Industry (Toledo) in 1805 between the United States and Shawnee, Potawatomi, Wyandot, Chippewa, and other Indians for the release of lands south of Lake Erie
  • Portrait of Tenskwatawa, the Prophet (1775–1837)
  • Shell Shaker
  • Shawnees at the Ceremonial Ground
  • Oklahoma Stomp Dance
  • Double-cresent bannerstone
  • Bannerstone
  • Bannerstone
  • Saddle-shaped bannerstone
  • Human figure
  • Plummet stone
  • Plummet stone engraved with bird motif
  • Birdstone
  • Human face effigy
  • Raptor effigy pipe
  • Pipe
  • Ovoid platform pipe
  • Beetle effigy
  • Vessel
  • Castellated vessel
  • Swallow-shaped gorget
  • Fish-shaped pendant
  • Concentric circle earspools
  • Pair of earspools
  • Spatulate Pipe with lizard motif
  • Ovoid pipe with broad rim
  • Rabbit vessel
  • Gourd-shaped vessel
  • Jar
Free
Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
To all but a few individuals, the works of art featured in this book and the exhibition Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South will be almost entirely unknown. Yet, as with masterpieces from more familiar ancient traditions, the objects strike us with a sense of surprise, wonderment, and puzzled interest. They appear to have a family affinity with the arts of Mesoamerica and other regions of the Americas where early societies arose and flourished, but …
Free
Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
In many countries throughout the Americas, movements of cultural recovery and restoration are taking form in the creation of historical districts, the establishment of nature conservancies, and the preservation of archaeological sites. Projects of cultural renewal are also encouraging the teaching of indigenous languages and customs in peril of extinction. The work of museums plays another role in this vital collective endeavor: at the Art Institute of Chicago, our special interest concerns …
Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
Few notions have so strongly affected the American imagination as the idea of the Untamed Wilderness. The perception of a vast continent, covered with forests and traversed by long rivers and mountain ranges, with immense inland lakes and sweeping prairies with limitless animals; the adventure of exploration and the complex tensions that arose in the fierce battle for North America among the competing French, English, and Spanish, and the many indigenous Indian nations; the formation of the …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
KENT REILLY: I’d like to start by asking you, as a traditional Muscogee person, and as a Medicine Man at the Hickory Ground near Henryetta, Oklahoma, to talk about growing up traditional and about how you became so fluent in the Muscogee language.
​TIMMY THOMPSON: Well, my father was the chief at one of the ceremonial grounds and my mother was active in ceremonial traditions, too. A lot of traditions were passed down from my grandparents on either side, father’s side, mother’s side. I lost my …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
On occasion someone will ask me how I became interested in American Indian art. Perhaps they expect to hear a story about childhood fascination with Indians, Boy Scout merit badges, and the like. But mine is, actually, a very different tale: while an undergraduate studying art history at New York University, I took a reading course with the late Howard Winters, an archaeologist peripherally linked to the early 1970s “New Archaeology” movement identified with Lewis Binford. I discovered that I …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
The ancient art of the Eastern Woodlands is one of the least-studied areas of North American art. Furthermore, most of what is known pertains to the relatively recent Mississippian societies of the tenth through sixteenth centuries rather than those of the deeper past. But well before the development of Mississippian culture, peoples of great talent and ability occupied all portions of this vast region. Their artistry, which shares with Mississippian art a generally religious caste, has proven …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
The Newark Earthworks in central Ohio comprise the largest complex of monumental geometric earthen enclosures ever built by the Hopewell culture (A.D. 1–400). The site originally encompassed more than four square miles (ten square kilometers) and included two gigantic circles, an even bigger ellipse, a square, and an octagon—all connected by a network of parallel walls. In addition, there were numerous smaller circular enclosures, mounds of various shapes and sizes, a second large square just …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
In 1910 Omaha anthropologist Francis La Flesche recorded Saucy Calf singing the songs and reciting the ritual prayers used in his clan’s portion of the sacred songs of the Wa-xo’-be rite of the Osages (figs. 2–3). Saucy Calfs version of the four-day-long rite consisted of ninety songs, six long ritual prayers, and seven symbolic ritual acts called we’-ga-xe. Like all Osage clan priests, Saucy Calf used a tally stick to assist as a memory aid, notched in various places along both of its flat …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
When Hernando de Soto’s band of adventurers crossed the southeastern United States in 1539–43, they witnessed the living, vibrant cultures of moundbuilding American Indians (see fig. 5 in the essay by Garrick Bailey). Unlike settlers in the nineteenth century, these Spaniards had no need to invent a mythical race of moundbuilders to account for the earthen monuments they beheld, because the leaders of the Natchez Indians they met in Mississippi lived in mound-top lodges and honored their …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
In 1884 archaeologist John Rogan discovered two thin, beautifully embellished copper plates at the ancient town site of Etowah, near Cartersville, Georgia, while excavating one of its three major mounds (see figs. 1 and 11 in the essay by Adam King in this volume). The thinness of these plates, beaten from nuggets of natural copper, combined with the refined and detailed tooling of a naturalistic image of a costumed warrior, struck Cyrus Thomas of the Bureau of American Ethnology in Washington, …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
Art and ritual provided the symbolic and metaphorical means by which the people of the Mississippian world visualized their spiritual relationships with the supernatural. Mississippian art—or, more specifically, what I shall argue is the art of a Mississippian Art and Ceremonial Complex (MACC)—often displayed an encoded symbolic system that portrayed the locations and inhabitants of a perceived, yet unseen, reality. The MACC possessed a complex symbolic language with important political and …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
The landscape was different back then. It belonged to Wa-Kon-da, “the mysterious creative power that brings into existence all living things.”
All things embodied Wa-Kon-da, but stone was especially venerated because it was here first. It was called Inyan by the Osage’s northern relatives. Inyan was wise; Inyan was revered; Inyan was the father of all. Inyan was imbued with such power that people would go to the stone for comfort, and pray to the sacred stone to be healed, supplicate it for …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
The Etowah site, located in the northwestern corner of Georgia, still inspires the same sense of wonder and mystery that it invoked in Colonel Charles Whittlesey, a nineteenth-century geologist and amateur archaeologist.
We can, to some degree, generalize that carving a stone with symbols consecrated it and distinguished it from others. In some cases it rendered the stone otherworldly in that it could “grant favors” if properly supplicated. “The stone symbolized the steadfast power of Wa-Ko-da …
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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
Moundville in its prime was one of the largest civic-ceremonial centers in the Mississippian world, surpassed in monumental grandeur only by the great Cahokia site near modern St. Louis. Situated on the banks of the Black Warrior River in western Alabama, this site was founded around A.D. 1100, grew to regional prominence soon after 1200, and continued to be occupied until about 1600. Through most of that time it served as the political and religious capital of a powerful chiefdom. Among its …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
KENT REILLY:The 1940s and 1950s took a terrible toll on the cultural and linguistic survival of Native Americans throughout the United States. There were specific efforts by both state and federal agencies to suppress Indian identity. In particular, elementary school programs were structured so that Native American languages could not be spoken by students. What do you think the overall effect of that educational system has been in terms of Creek culture and of Native American culture in …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
On a hot summer night in the mid-fourteenth-century Southeast, a chief prepares for a raid on his enemies. The forest is quiet and still as his warriors solemnly approach their fortified capital at the lake’s edge. The Sacred Warrior, the priestly leader of the war party, and his war commanders assemble in the great plaza or square ground that lies between the chief’s mound at one end and the temple that holds the remains and treasures of the chief’s ancestors at the other. With arrows nocked …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
Refusing to live in chaos means that humans must necessarily be creators of order. It is presumed that human beings always seek that order in the real world, so that the order that they establish—on the ground, in their social organizations, and in their behavior—is a reflection of the greater, cosmic order in which humanity is embedded. However it is perceived, the great cosmos is fundamentally one that humans did not create. Yet, as participants in it, they may legitimately recreate it and …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
The central Mississippi valley of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was a vast landscape of dissected alluvial hills, horseshoe-shaped swamps and backwaters, and massive meandering rivers and streams. In 1542 when the members of Hernando de Soto’s entrada crossed the Mississippi River, there was a complex cultural mosaic of chiefdoms ripe with political alliances and factions. The cultural landscape seems to have consisted of ceremonial centers with various types of mounds, densely …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
When in early June 1991 Jereldine Redcorn and her friends in the Caddo Culture Club visited the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, Oklahoma, she saw for the first time a collection of beautifully shaped black and red earthenware bowls, bottles, jars, and other containers, elegantly burnished and finely engraved with abstract linear designs. These vessels had been recovered from archaeological sites widely distributed in old Caddo homelands, along the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma, in …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
As a Caddo person with a true love of my tribal family and my heritage, I have a perspective of Caddo art that is a personal one and by no means reflects that of any majority group, tribal or non-tribal. I feel fortunate to have had some unique, personal experiences in relation to the art of my ancestors, and I am honored and obligated to share these experiences.
First, I want to address how to define Caddo art. What makes a work of art distinctly Caddo? The answer largely depends on who is …

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Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
In late spring, when the dogwood begins to bud, some say when the dogwood blossom is the size of a squirrel’s ear, a Shawnee council meeting is held to talk about the Bread Dance. According to our tribal traditions, the Bread Dance is the most important event in Shawnee life, ceremonial or otherwise. The ceremony represents the hunt, planting, and harvest, annually retelling the male and female roles in planting, germination, and new life. Attendance or participation is a part of being Shawnee. …

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Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
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