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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/219

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PREHISTORIC ABORIGINES OF MINNESOTA

linguistic affinity, are sufficient to point to an early common origin. If the Algonquian stock in any of its tribes is found to have constructed mounds, such as those characteristic of the Ohio mound-builders, it seems to have been only exceptional or sporadic, or may be attributed to adoption from their neighbors belonging either to the Iroquois or the Siouan stock. I know that Dr. Thomas has shown the great probability that the Shawnees, an Algonquian tribe, were the authors of certain mounds in western Tennessee and contiguous territory farther southeast, and specially of those that cover the characteristic stone-box graves. Admitting that, it is still true that the Shawnees have not been shown to have been mound builders in a wide sense, and that, carrying the habit of subsurface burial with them when they left their kindred and migrated into southern Illinois and western Tennessee, they might easily have adopted the custom of their mound-building new neighbors and covered their box graves with earth mounds. But, without admitting at present that the Shawnees constructed the mounds that cover the stone-box graves, it seems to be reasonable to refer those mounds to the predecessors of the Shawnees, viz.: the Osage and perhaps the Omaha, who belong to the Dakotan stock, and who have a tradition, which is confirmed by other traditions, that they once lived east of the Mississippi in that very region. With this understanding, it is, I repeat, a remarkable fact that, aside from the Muskogean earthworks of the gulf coast, which have distinctive characters, only the Dakotan and Iroquois stocks can be shown either by history or tradition to have been characteristic mound-builders.

It is due to the research of the late J. V. Brower that the Dakota tribes of Minnesota have been proved to belong to the so-called mound-builder dynasty. But the mound-builder domain was, par excellence, in the Ohio Valley and southward into Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Georgia and eastward into West Virginia. There is also a remarkable series of effigy mounds in central and southern Wisconsin which extended across the Mississippi into Minnesota and Iowa. With slight exceptions the typical mound-builder area was occupied, as shown by Powell's map, at the coming of the whites, by non-mound-building people; while the great body of the mound-builders, represented by the Siouan stock, were on the west side of the Mississippi, in a region which had been passed by, or ignored, by the early migrating stocks.

As between a prairie and a forested country it is plain that the forested area would be chosen first by the aborigines. Aside from the


    that the Sioux at different periods occupied the greater part of what is now Wisconsin. Mounds have been described by John T. Short ("North Americans of Antiquity," p. 30) in the valley of the Columbia River, south from Olympia, but these have since been ascribed to natural causes by Messrs. Rogers and Upham (Am. Geol., Vol. XI., p. 293 and Vol. XXXIV., p. 203).