Last updated: April 10, 2021
Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Picnic Shelter/Pavilion, Picnic Table, Restroom, Restroom - Accessible, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Toilet - Flush, Water - Bottle-Filling Station, Water - Drinking/Potable, Wheelchair Accessible
A vast trading network stretched from southeastern US to the shores of Lake Ontario. Over hundreds of linked trails, objects of copper, mica, greenstone, and shell found their way to Pharr Mounds. People from small local villages then came here to obtain exotic goods.
Cultures around the world and across time built monuments and lasting memorials. Mounds like these are some of the earliest remaining monuments in North America.
Skillfully designed and built, these mounds are a source of wonder and pride. Spiritually enduring, they become the cornerstones of civic and religious ceremonies and rituals. Modern Chickasaw feel a strong bond with Pharr Mounds and consider them sacred. Many return here as part of a pilgrimage to their ancestral homeland.
A Spiritual Place, Pharr Mounds, Milepost 286
Speakers: LaDonna Brown, Tribal Anthropologist at the Chickasaw Nation; Pauline Brown of the Chickasaw Language Committee and Chickasaw Nation Historical Society.
L. Brown - (Speaking in Chickasaw.) Hello. My name is LaDonna Brown. I am the tribal anthropologist at the Chickasaw Nation.
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P. Brown - My name is Pauline Brown. I am a Chickasaw. (Speaking in Chickasaw.)
L. Brown - When our ancestors looked for specific land features to create places for communities, they really based that knowledge upon our spiritual belief system. What our ancestors did was they consulted, they prayed about it. They fasted over it, Our spiritual leaders would have to pray, fast, do ceremonies, all of these types of things before they could even begin to even consider a place as the perfect place to have a mound site or to create a community, a village. That’s why those places are so important to us, because we know that our ancestors put so much time and effort into choosing these types of places. Pharr Mounds is a very sacred place.
What we would like to request for visitors to do is to just respect the mounds. Respect the mounds as if they are at a cemetery. The cemetery becomes more like a holding ground. It becomes like an area that people begin to wait for their journey to this afterlife, so it’s like the change over to the spiritual life. They’re really – to us, they’re still alive. Their spirits are alive, and they’re going to this afterlife.
P. Brown - When I go there, I’ll say (speaking in Chickasaw) “I am a Chickasaw. I’ve come to visit all of you."