Bradford Lee Lewis
aka "Li Luyi"
7th, I made my first visit to Cahokia Mounds
(and hopefully not my last ... there's still so much more to see!)
I took over 200 pictures and most of them are all here for you
to share. I have divided them into two groups. The first group
are those pictures that I took inside the Interpretive Center.
No flash photography was permitted since the UV from the flashes
could be damaging to some of the ancient artifacts on display.
Therefore, I had to use my camera with no flash, so some of the
images may be a bit fuzzy. I also had to reduce them for internet
The second set of pictures were taken outside as I walked through
what was once, a thousand years before, a thriving community of
people who were at the height of their civilization while Europe
was going through the Dark Ages. It was a moving experience and
the photos do not capture the feeling, the depth, or the intensity
of the visit. However... I tried my best...
guest book is for my entire site, so be sure to
specify which section you're comment on...
trying to fix...
to this site...
trying to fix...
to view my photos of the exhibit...
I arrived at the "The
Interpretive Center" around 1:00pm after a
surprisingly easy trip via the public transit system. Almost
as soon as I am made my way through the massive metal doors,
which are works of art on their own merit, I was pleasantly
greeted a staff member. She informed me that one of the
regularly scheduled 15 minute movies about the Cahokia Mounds
was to start in about five minutes. So my little adventure
began with a wide screen presentation with a front row seat.
It was very informative and quite well done. It gave me
a wonderful start into my tour. To the left of this narrative,
you will see a button which I created from a photograph
I took of "The Birdman"
... which Cahokia Mounds has adapted as its logo. Click
on this button to enter my photographic tour of the
displays presented within the Interpretive Center. Remember,
no flash photography was permitted, so the quality
could be better. Overall, however, I was not displeased.
After wandering among the many and varied exhibits within
the Interpretive Center, it was finally time to make my
way outside to experience the mounds themselves. I highly
recommend going through the movie and exhibit before touring
the actual mounds. This gives one a chance to become immersed
in the history, and "flavour" of of the experience.
Otherwise, I am sure, that for many the "mounds"
are merely big grassy hills. However, with a little background
information, one can use their imagination and sense the
ancient history of the place and feel a sense of awe and
wonder. For me, being mostly of indigenous American ancestry
(Cherokee), it was something of a pilgrimage of sorts.
Briefly, my walk among the Mounds started with a small
Mound just behind the Interpretive Center. I think this
was mound #55, or "Murdocks
Mound", but I am not sure. I then started to head
East toward a mound I could see, but changed my mind and
headed toward the "big one" ... Monk's Mound.
I stopped first at an on-going excavation site. I was asked
if I had any questions, but... no... I really did not. I
took a few pictures at the site.
Then I headed across the highway, which seemed so out-of-place
in this setting and began to climb the steps (provided for
us touristy types). There were lots of young children on
school trips (you may see them in the photos).
I climbed to the top (and my legs were feeling like
Jell-O!)... but it was not a bad feeling. I made it up to
the third-most terrace where the Emperor, King, God or High-Poobah
lived; he who once ruled most of this country! I stopped
a moment and closed my eyes... I tried to feel the antiquity
of this place. I only succeeded in a small way.
After wandering about the top of Monk's Mound, I realized
there was more to see. I could see the city of St. Louis
in the distance, including the Gateway Arch and also the
building that I used to live in... Gentry's Landing!
That was an interesting revelation. I could also see
the partially reconstructed stockade wall that once surrounded
the temple mound upon which I stood. My photos show my progress
down to the simulated stockades.
I will end my comments here. For me this
was a very emotional and almost religious experience. I
do not feel I have expressed myself adequately in this commentary.
However, I hope you enjoy the pictures I have taken and
presented in my personal presentation of...
of the Sun"
THE CAHOKIA MOUNDS
on this button
which I created of
OF THE SUN
to view my photos...
I wish to dedicate
this page to three people.
first two people to who I want to give thanks, are
my mother and father. They were both over half Cherokee
and from them I received my heritage; to them I give
(1937 - 1984)
|My mother grew up in
rural Alabama where being "Indian" was something
you did not admit to outside the family. My mother was
allegedly of the ani Kutani, a very secretive
and scarce people who have not officially existed (according
to history) for five centuries. Mix with her Cherokee
heritage, she was also of Celtic ancestry. Her father
was Clifford T. McDowell, of Clan McDowell.
was born and raised in rural Oklahoma. He was raised
by his Grandfather, who was allegedly a full-blood.
His first language was Tsalagi, but
once his started school, even though he went to school
on the reservation, he learned English and lost the
ancestral tongue of his childhood. He was very passionate
about his heritage, and while other family members
were trying to be "white" and deny their
heritage (which has obscured many a genealogical trail!),
he stood fast and I respect him for that. It was he,
possibly more than anyone, who instilled in me a pride
of my ancestry.
My father told me that he was of the ani Sahoni,
or "Blue Clan," but I have no way to prove
this. I accept my father's word.
but not least, my friend
of Hants, England
is also of Cherokee descent, but she is living in
England where the stereotypes and misconceptions of
what an "indigenous American," is even worse
than it is here in our homeland. One can only imagine
her feeling of isolation.
RubyDancingmoon could not be with me
in person on my visit to the Cahokia Mounds, but she
was definitely with me in spirit and I thought of
her and what her perspective might be throughout the
day. I even signed her name in the guest book! RubyDancingmoon
also provided me with her perspective in designing
this page and provide the wonderful background music!
She is also an accomplished dancer and
professional dance instructor. Her dance site is no
longer available, but do visit her Native American
site (which has involved years of research and countless
hours of work) ... by clicking on the link below...