Just one of the reasons that you should support the creation of Ocmulgee National Park
Did you know that there is a Native American town site, 12 miles south of Macon, Georgia, with at least 24 visible mounds and four more probable mounds . . . covered by red clay washed down from 19th century cotton fields upstream? In 1935, the National Park Service promised to include this archaeological zone in the planned Ocmulgee National Park. However, in the late 1930s, someone powerful in the U.S. Senate “pulled the plug” on this showcase for the Southeast’s Native American heritage and shrunk it down to a 600+ acre national monument. Several hundred more acres that the people of Macon donated their meager earnings to purchase for a national park, reverted back to being eventually developed for subdivisions, apartment complexes, institutions and retail stores.
The new concept for Ocmulgee National Park links a 38 mile long corridor of publicly-owned lands, plus archaeological sites in undevelopable wetlands and river flood plains. There are at least 100-125 mounds in the proposed park . . . probably over 200 mounds in the Macon-Hawkinsville, GA area. From the beginning, the promised creation of Ocmulgee National Park, 80 years late, has had bipartisan support in Congress . . . plus the support of all federally and state recognized tribes from the Southeast. However, the previous occupants of the White House failed to heed the desires of Southerners for a national park dedicated to rich indigenous heritage of tour region. President Obama’s staff did not promote its passage. The current administration also has other priorities, but it is time to make the voices heard from a huge voting block in the United States. Enough is enough members of Congress! Most Southerners are not interested in having gold-plated toilets, but we DO value very dearly . . . preservation of our natural and cultural heritage.
Thanks to the generosity of several People of One Fire readers . . . including my little sister! . . . a sophisticated computer model of Bullard Landing Mounds and their environs 800 years ago is currently being created with the state of the art CADD and GIS satellite image analysis software. During 2018, this computer model will be used to create an animated film, which will be available to the general public on YouTube.
In a recent book on Native American mounds in the United States, the Midwestern archaeologist-author briefly mentioned Ocmulgee National Monument as an afterthought. He stated, “One wonders why Ocmulgee existed at all. It is a relatively small cluster of six mounds out in the middle of nowhere that had no satellite communities or cultural impact on the remainder of North America.” His maps left out about 95% of the major Native American town sites in Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. He was completely unaware about the cluster of 5,500 to 3,000 year old mounds in Savannah, GA, plus didn’t even mention the cluster of large towns with interconnecting canals and causeways near Lake Okeechobee, Florida.
The creation of Ocmulgee National Park is a win-win proposition. It represents the core values of most Southerners . . . and certainly all Native Americans. It will have an immediate and dramatic economic impact on a section of the United States that was terribly hurt by the effects of the NAGPRA trade agreement in the 1990s . . . which also had bipartisan support. Southerners were promised by both political parties that the federal government would implement policies and projects to promote new jobs in regions, gutted by NAGPRA, but that never occurred. Nearby Warner Robbins Air Force Base has kept Middle Georgia from completely withering on the vine, after losing much of its industry, but that is not a enough. This is a project that represents essentially pocket change for U. S. taxpayers, but will become a magnet for international heritage tourism and spin-off commercial development.
We urge People of One Fire readers to send digital copies of the new Ocmulgee National Park brochure by the National Parks Conservation Association to all members of Congressional staffs and the White House, so they truly understand that this is a bill that is long overdue passage. Wall Street oligarchs can keep their gold-plated bidets, but we Southerners want our 12,000 year old heritage to survive into the future.
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