November marks the commemoration of Native American Heritage Month and St. Louis has a number of opportunities for history buffs to immerse themselves in the influence the native American culture played in shaping our country. Bring along family and friends as you take in these informative and enlightening activities.
“Cahokia Mounds: Ancient Metropolis”
Missouri History Museum
5700 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63112
Time: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 12 p.m.
The Missouri History Museum hosts a midday “History on the Side” series, and for Native American Heritage Month, MHM brings you a documentary that looks at the history and archaeology highlights of Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois. The series is a lunchtime event in which attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch or purchase lunch at Bixby’s Museum Restaurant as they enjoy the documentary. “Cahokia Mounds: Ancient Metropolis” outlines the booming metropolis that existed during the Mississippian period. The event is only expected to last an hour so you can attend during your lunch hour.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
30 Ramsey St.
Collinsville, IL 62234
After you enjoy the Missouri History Museum’s documentary of “Cahokia Mounds: Ancient Metropolis,” plan a day trip see the actual site with your own eyes. It will marvel you as you take in the scale and scope of the monument. While you tour the museum and site, you will learn about the lifestyles and evolution of the people that inhabited the area for over 900 years. Visit the 9th annual Fall Indian Market from November 23 through 25. Native American artists sell their jewelry, paintings, pottery and more to any who may be looking for holiday gifts for loved ones or for themselves.
Museum of Westward Expansion
Under the Arch
Walnut St. and S. Memorial Drive
St. Louis, MO 63102
The Museum of Westward Expansion, under the Arch, is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Not only can you visit the Old Courthouse and ride to the top of the Arch, you can also tour the Museum of Westward Expansion and learn about how the area west of the Mississippi River played a part in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The timeline throughout the museum highlights the role of the Native American world, the 19th century pioneers and the way the two cultures helped to shape the west. The museum is free and open year round to the public, however there are fees to ride the Arch tram.
Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center
1050 S. Riverside Drive
St. Charles, MO 63301
Exhibits and dioramas in the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center are authentic replications of the Native American way of life and Missouri River ecosystems that explorers encountered on their journey west. Schools are encouraged to schedule a field trip and enjoy the classroom with a narrated power-point presentation before embarking on a self-guided tour of the museum. Don’t forget to stop in at the Trading Post before you leave for your souvenirs to commemorate your visit. The museum is open every day except major holidays and admission fees are $4 for adults and $2 for children under 17.
St. Charles Community College
4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive
Cottleville, MO 63376
Native American Heritage Month is well represented at St. Charles Community College. Lectures, film screenings and traditional dance performances are all part of the festivities offered at the college to commemorate Native American History in November. On November 27, Professor Hal Berry leads a discussion on “Childhoods Lost: The Tragic Story of the Boarding School Era in Native American History.” He explains how forced assimilation violated the civil rights of Native American children. Also, on November 27 there will be a screening of the film “Thunderheart.” On November 29, there will be two performances of the Painted Sky Northstar Dance Company. The events are free and open to the public.
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Lisa Payne-Naeger, a native of the St. Louis area, is a freelance writer, blogger, political activist and a homeschooling mother of two children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.