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Thread: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

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    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery
    By Jason Szep
    Reuters

    NORTH SMITHFIELD, Rhode Island (May 18) - In a thick forest of maple, willow and oak trees where 17th century European settlers fought hundreds of American Indians, algae-covered stones are arranged in mysterious piles.

    Wilfred Greene, the 70-year-old chief of the Wampanoag Nation's Seaconke Indian tribe, says the stone mounds are part of a massive Indian burial ground, possibly one of the nation's largest, that went unnoticed until a few years ago.

    "When I came up here and looked at this, I was overwhelmed," said Greene, a wiry former boxer, standing next to one of at least 100 stone piles -- each about 3 feet high and 4 feet wide -- on private land in this northern Rhode Island town of about 10,600 people.

    "I know it has significance -- absolutely," he said.

    But Narragansett Improvement Co. disagrees, and says it will press on with plans to build a 122-lot housing project over 200 acres in the area near the Massachusetts border.

    The firm has hired an archeologist who studied the stones and concluded they were likely left in piles by early European settlers who built a network of stone walls in the area, said company president John Everson.

    "I don't believe any of these Indian artifacts are on my land," he said. "The whole area is very stony."

    The case illustrates sporadic tension between developers and Native Americans in rural New England, where land disputes fester nearly 400 years after British Puritans sailed into Massachusetts Bay and settled the area.

    Across state lines, the Mashpee Wampanoag Indians, who won federal recognition as a tribe on February 15, said this month they want ownership of a 22,000-acre military reservation in Massachusetts to create a free-trade zone.

    Historians, state officials, private developers and tribal leaders in Rhode Island agree that Nipsachuck woods, where Greene identified the stone mounds two years ago, is culturally and historically significant for local Indians.

    It was the scene of three battles in the King Philip's War -- a one-year fight between Indians and English settlers that killed an estimated 600 settlers and 3,000 Indians, said Frederick Meli, an anthropologist who has studied New England American Indian ceremonial sites for 20 years.

    The war, the bloodiest conflict of 17th century New England, broke down Indian resistance and led to the westward push by Europeans. "The war here decided who was going to run this country," said Greene, gesturing toward the Nipsachuck woods.

    Meli, a former University of Rhode Island professor who works with the local Conservation Commission, estimates the area could contain a burial ground spanning at least 230 acres. Already, the Wampanoags call it their version of Arlington National Cemetery, where U.S. soldiers are buried.

    "There's lots of ceremonial stonework there," said Meli.

    The local Conservation Commission is applying for a grant to help pay for an archeological survey of two plots of land owned by a family that borders the area slated for development. They will meet town officials on Monday to propose a survey.

    They would dig the area, scan it for metal and possibly excavate it, said Meli. If the findings suggests a burial ground, the tribe would then use that as evidence for a case to try to block Narragansett Improvement's housing project, arguing their land could also contain ancient Indian remains.

    State authorities are watching the process.

    "What we do know is that it's an important area to a number of Indian tribes. Maybe the piles are related to that (tribal history). Maybe they aren't," said Paul Robinson, Rhode Island's state archeologist.

    William Simmons, chair of Brown University's anthropology department, said the stone mounds were mysterious but could just as easily have been arranged by European settlers.

    "Placing the rocks like that could have been a practical solution for farmers clearing fields or meadows or pastures or whatever they were clearing -- to get rocks out of the way by piling them atop one another," he said

    "If you were to dig and find human remains then you would know for sure," he said.

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    Last edited by WMR; 05-19-2007 at 06:29 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    Good luck to the Wampanoags. As a descendant of Native-Americans, I feel that we deserve some victories against our oppressors.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    Seems obvious to me, dig one up and let's find out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by WilyMoROCKS View Post
    Seems obvious to me, dig one up and let's find out.
    Digging in an indian burial ground is bad juju.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    Digging in an indian burial ground is bad juju.
    What's juju?
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    Quote Originally Posted by WilyMoROCKS View Post
    What's juju?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juju

    Juju is an aura or other magical property, usually having to do with spirits or luck, which is bound to a specific object; it is also a term for the object. Juju also refers to the spirits and ghosts in African lore as a general name. The object that contains the juju, or fetish, can be anything from an elephant’s head to an extinguisher. In general, juju can only be created by a witchdoctor, few exceptions exist. Juju can be summoned by a witchdoctor for several purposes; good juju can cure ailments of mind and body. Any thing from fractured limbs to a headache can be corrected. Bad juju is used to enact revenge, sooth jealousy, and cause misfortune. Contrary to common belief, voodoo is not related to juju, despite the linguistic and spiritual similarities. Juju has acquired some karmic attributes in more recent times. Good juju can stem from almost any good deed, saving a kitten to returning a lost book. Bad juju can be spread just as easily, cheating on some test or any other disreputable act will evoke it. These ideas revolve around the luck and fortune portions of juju. The use of juju to describe an object usually involves a small item that is worn or carried. These generally contain medicines produced by witchdoctors. The creation of these medicines
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    Here's my question though, Sava: Would the Indian leaders be willing to allow the excavation of a mound if it would possibly save the entire disputed piece of land?

    Maybe there is a ceremony to appease the spirits or something (I don't know the first thing about Indian mysticism).

    It just seems like it's something the Indian leaders of the area should support if it could prove conclusively whether or not they have a claim and possibly also protect the land in one fell swoop.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
    "Cheering for Kentucky is like watching Star Wars and hoping Darth Vader chokes an ewok"


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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    It's possible, but it would likely still be subject to a chief or elder's decision, unless they have a council that could decide this for them.

    I know that there are some ceremonies that could be implemented here. Hopefully, the tribe would allow the digging to prove conclusively one way or the other.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

  10. #9
    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    I have several rock piles on my land that I have accumulated. Rock piles are a necessary evil of farming. Do some forensic anthropology/archeology, if it is a burial ground leave it alone, if it is not a burial ground full steam ahead.
    The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.

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    Re: Rock Piles Spark American Indian Mystery

    The soil of a man's heart is... stonier.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
    -Ken Griffey Jr.


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