Cahokia: The Rise and Fall of an Indigenous Empire

A younger Indigenous man, a Pilgrim, has been strolling all day carrying a big bundle basket on his again. His lengthy black hair is tied up in a bun in the back of his head, and he has new, spherical, purplish, flint clay spools in his ears. The younger man’s physique is taught, lean, and muscular, and a easy purple loincloth is draped round his waist and thru his legs, with the tail of the fabric flowing behind him.

This Pilgrim is journeying into the ceremonial metropolis heart of Cahokia from his new farming residence neighborhood a few days strolling distance away. The Pilgrim’s entire household, clan, and tribe had heard the nice tales of the Cahokian Empire and had left their former homelands, a lot farther away, to see if the tales about Cahokia have been certainly true. They’d discovered a spot in one of many suburban farming collectives that paid tribute crops to Cahokia.

The tales about Cahokia are in all places. Tales about extra individuals gathering right here than anybody might ever think about, in a big “metropolis,” the place work was executed for the larger good of town itself. Not simply individuals residing intently, however residing in a brand new method, for one thing larger than themselves.

Because the Pilgrim strikes nearer to town heart, he passes many Indigenous girls working the fields of corn, beans, and squash. Throughout him is an enormous floodplain, stretching for miles and miles. Excessive alongside the bluffs framing the floodplain, the Pilgrim sees low burial mounds, thatch-roofed buildings with burial scaffolds, maybe open so the useless can see the heavens. The floodplain is crammed with marshy lowlands, and he passes by 1000’s of cattails, watercress, and duckweeds.

Because the Pilgrim strikes nearer to town heart, the marshlands and crop fields give strategy to open plazas and well-trodden paths, and he sees the bigger, angular, flat-topped ceremonial mounds rising out of the panorama, and smoke trails emanating from bigger thatched artifices.

The Pilgrim hungrily smells the pungent feasts of deer, elk, bear, and bison meat in all places, blended with the candy scent of sage, sweetgrass, cedar, and juniper incense. The sound of drums and singing looms within the distance. The Pilgrim had by no means seen so many individuals in a single place, 1000’s upon 1000’s of individuals, all talking completely different languages, and all residing in peace with each other.


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Taylor Eager is a senior lecturer within the Heider Faculty of Enterprise Administration at Creighton College. He’s a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, the founding father of Sacred Seed, a company dedicated to propagating tribal seed sovereignty, and a member of the Earthen Bison Clan of the Omaha Tribe the place he’s recognized by the title “Bison Mane.” He’s writer of: ‘Rediscovering Turtle Island: A First Peoples’ Account of the Sacred Geography of America

Prime Picture: A portray of Cahokia Mounds State Historic website by William R. Iseminger. Supply: William R. Iseminger

By Taylor Eager

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