Discovering Native American heritage along the river

Here are a few important stops along the Mississippi that honor the diverse cultures and influences of Native American people.

Layers
Effigy Mounds National Monument
1
Effigy Mounds National Monument
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Archaeological Site
Located just four miles north of Marquette, Iowa these sacred mounds are associated with as many as 20 different American Indian tribes. There are more than 200 mounds surrounded by some of the most beautiful views of the Upper Mississippi River Valley you’ll ever experience.

The mounds preserved here are considered sacred by many Americans, especially the Monument's 20 culturally associated American Indian tribes. A visit offers opportunities to contemplate the meanings of the mounds and the people who built them.…

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Blackhawk State Historic Site
2
Blackhawk State Historic Site
Community | Historic Site or District
This site in Rock Island was home to native peoples beginning 12,000 years ago up until about A.D. 250. This area was the land of the Sauk and Meskwaki people, then an amusement park, then a rail line. In the 1930s, veterans of the First World War transformed it into a historic site with trails, parking lots and shelters, planting trees and wildflowers along the way.

Learn how the Sauk and Mesquakie Indians lived in the 1820s when their village, Saukenuk, was the largest town in Illinois. In the late 1820s, however, Anglo-Americans began developing settlements and gradually forced the tribes across the…

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Toolesboro Mounds and Museum
3
Toolesboro Mounds and Museum
Community | Historic Site or District
These Wapello, Iowa mounds claim to be the “best-preserved and accessible remains of an ancient culture flourishing from 200 B.C. to A.D. 300.” Stop in the visitor center to learn about the Hopewellian people who created these beautiful mounds.

The Hopewellian mounds at Toolesboro are among the best-preserved and accessible remnants of an ancient culture flourishing from around 200 B.C. to 300 A.D. The five-acre site includes several large surviving mounds, an education center and a…

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Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
4
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Historic Site
Cahokia was once one of the greatest cities in the world, and was larger than London in A.D. 1250. These remains claim to be of “the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico.” It’s also home to Monks Mound, the largest man-made earthen mound in North America. The people of this area were builders, unsurpassed in their skills at the time.

As the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico, Cahokia Mounds covered about 4000 acres and included at least 120 mounds.  The State of Illinois now protects 2200 acres of the central portion of the site and 70 of the remaining 80 mounds. …

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Trail of Tears State Park
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Trail of Tears State Park
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Historic Site
This scenic state park is a sobering reminder of one of America’s saddest chapters, the Trail of Tears March, which forced tens of thousands of Cherokees from their homes. A stop here will help you to better understand the great sacrifice native people endured.

Trail of Tears State Park is located on the Mississippi River east of Jackson, Missouri and north of Cape Girardeau, MO.  It is where the Cherokee crossed the Mississippi River from Ware, Illinois into Missouri during their forced removal in 1838…

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Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
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Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Historic Site
In Wickliffe, Kentucky you’ll find the site of a village once belonging to the Mississippian Native Americans. Beginning about 900 years ago, these peaceful farmers grew and prospered here until the village was mysteriously abandoned in the 1350s. Don’t miss the Archaeology Walking Trail tour or the hands-on activity stations.

Wickliffe Mounds has a museum, welcome center, gift shop, trails and picnic areas. 

A Native American village once occupied the site of Wickliffe Mounds,…

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Trip Plan Details

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In This Trip Plan

1 Effigy Mounds National Monument
2 Blackhawk State Historic Site
3 Toolesboro Mounds and Museum
4 Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
5 Trail of Tears State Park
6 Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site