As part of the bicentennial celebrations in the state of Illinois, the Dickson Mounds Museum has created a display of information that highlights the way in which Native Americans in Illinois and the Midwest developed agriculture in the region. The history of Native Americans in that region is traced back 12,000 years.

From between 12,000 to 7,000 years ago, Native Americans in the central part of the United States were engaged in a hunter and gatherer type of culture. The first signs of a settled agricultural system begin about 7,000 years ago when there is some evidence of the planting of gourds and squashes by Native Americans.

The first signs of a settled agricultural practice among Native Americans occurred during the time of the Middle Woodland Period about 2,000 years ago. The people began to fashion tools out of bones and stones that they used to maintain garden plots. Crops grown included sunflowers, sumpweed and barley.

About 1,000 years ago, agriculture exploded among Native Americans of the woodland areas. Corn became the predominant crop grown by Native Americans in the region. It became the major part of the people’s diet.

The development of corn-based agriculture changed how many tribal groups were constructed. Artifacts, pottery and statues on display in the museum demonstrate that the people’s religion changed to a fertility based concept. People also started to live apart. One family or group would live on a plot where corn would be cultivated.
There was less communal living.

Artifacts and displays about Native American agriculture will be on display throughout the year.

Categories: Native American, Native American Agricultural

Comments are Closed on this Post