A Family Trip to Dickson Mounds in Illinois

one experience that never leaves my mind

was a family trip we took to Dickson Mounds

we had passed the signs on the roadway

several times the first time we lived in Illinois

one day we decided to stop in and see what it was about

i want to say it was about 1991 and possibly fall

from my memory of the countryside

but don’t hold me to that

will check our records later to be sure

driving down these country roads one could forget what year it was

and it was with these feelings

that we drove up to a museum in the middle of nowhere

a nice sized modern museum

we got out of the car and tried to get the kids excited

about pottery shards and arrowheads

we had no idea.

we entered the museum and started to walk around the exhibits

a voice was heard telling people

that if they wanted to see the big exhibit

to walk upstairs to a doorway and wait for the next viewing

we thought it was to a movie or something

we ignored the call.

thinking we had experienced all we wanted

we were about to leave

when we were asked if we had gone upstairs?

we said no

but were encouraged to go up and see

we decided OK

we had time

so we walked upstairs

and waited for the next viewing

they opened the doors it was very dark inside

but we followed the other people into the darkness

and peered down to see what they had here

not understanding beforehand what we were about to see

the sight almost knocked me over

way down below us

where the dim lighting was coming from for the room

open for all the world to view

were the bones of the ancients

just as they had been buried in this mound

In some cases buried on top of one another

several individuals deep.

but all seemingly buried in certain positions.

not all the same

not thrown into the grave

but positioned

or so my memory tells me

we stood there looking down

unable to move.

recall the feeling of needing to run

flee this place

yet all we could do was stand there

and feel the wrongness.

as we left the building that day

the parking lot had become full of Native American’s

bused in to protest this mound opening to the public

we drove off in silence

no words

back home, we heard on the news

that the museum was to be closed

we never returned to see it

but the memory is held nonetheless.

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