Annual Town Meeting: Official Notice ANNUAL Town Meeting Tuesday, April 16 @6pm Town Hall 5621 Town Hall Road, Delavan, WI  53115  Call-in option is available:  425-436-6389 Code:  437479 The Town of Delavan will hold its Annual Meeting on Tuesday April 16, 2024 at 6:00 pm at Delavan Town Hall, 5621 Town Hall Rd, Delavan.  Join meeting by Zoom:  https://zoom.us/j/5896178576?pwd=cytqeWdlOW1aaEx5d3NNWFZlKzFBZz09&omn=94263635565 Meeting ID:  589 617 8576  Passcode:  TOD

TEST TW WEATHER

What’s happening with the Indian Mound located inside Community Park?

What’s happening with the Indian Mound located inside Community Park?

The conical (dome) shaped mound located to the right of the entrance to Community Park in Delavan is being returned to its natural state.  Native American Burial Mound (WL-0009, Burial #BWL-0079) was identified in 1924 by archaeologist Charles E. Brown, along with other effigy mounds, one shaped like an 85 foot  bird and one shaped like a 132 foot long comet within Community Park.  Estimates suggest that as many as 100 mounds might have stood on the shores of Lake Delavan.

Archaeology Inventory and Evaluation, Walworth County Metropolitan Sewerage District.  David F. Overstreet, Ph.D., Principal Investigator.  9.1.76.

Sarah T. Lahey, Lake Magazine, “Building Mounds, Unearthing History.”  April 18, 2017.

4.8.24

The Park and Tourism Committee have recently submitted a draft grant to the Wisconsin Historical Society in hopes of being awarded a Wisconsin Historical Society Plaque honoring the Indian Mounds located in Community Park.  The process will take about six months, but we look forward to keeping the Town of Delavan informed and wish us luck! 

(Indian Mounds of Beloit College)

It is with great sadness that we have lost a mentor and friend, Skip TwoDoors Twardosz of Burlington, Wisconsin.  As the Parks and Tourism Committee began conversations to return the Indian Mounds located in Community Park to their natural state, we were mentored by Skip TwoDoors Twardosz.  And throughout our plans to dedicate the Indian Mounds and preserve them, Skip was always available to share his knowledge and traditions with us.  Our committee, and our Town has been fortunate to be mentored by Skip Twardosz.  Skip Twardosz was of Potawatomi descent, was a singer and traditional dancer and has presented for schools, historical groups, museums, libraries, scout troops and community organizations. A drum he sang on and other artifacts of his have been on display at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian, Washington D.C. Skip was a former member of the Chicago American Indian Center and was Spiritual Elder for Sacred Circle Native Student Organization at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. He was an amateur historian of native woodland culture. He has functioned as Storyteller, Fire Keeper and Elder for many Native gatherings in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.  Skip supported our committee in returning the Indian Mounds located in Community Park by offering sage, a tobacco offering, songs and a blessing to the spirits.  Skip TwoDoors Twardosz’s wife, Kim, has our deepest sympathies and our deep appreciation for all Skip left us.

     We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.

                                                                    Dakota

 

1.19.24

ARE THERE OTHER INDIAN MOUNDS WITHIN THE TOWN OF DELAVAN?

Yes.  There is a long history of Indian mounds associated with Assembly Park.

    

In 1909 six conical mounds were documented in Assembly Park as well as a 20 foot by 55 foot oval mound and one shaped like a dumbbell.  Three conical mounds remain but they have been partially destroyed.

A plaque was placed in Assembly Park by the Delavan Woman’s Club on July 12, 1925 in the midst of a group of Indian Burial mounds.  The plaque reads:  Group of prehistoric Indian Burial Mounds & Winnebago Village site.  Marked by the Delavan Women’s Club – 1925.  Remarked 1971 Ladies Auxiliary.    Lake Geneva News published this article on May 19, 1925:

                                                             Delavan Club Plans to Mark Indian Camps

Plans have been made by the landmark committee of the Delavan Woman’s Club to permanently mark the site of a former Winnebago    Indian tribal village on the shores of Lake Delavan at the Assembly grounds.  The markers have been ordered and will be erected this Spring.  The club has been instrumental in having the Indian mounds on the shore of the lake listed with the State Historical Society.

This club has interested itself in conservation and has taken steps to save Delavan’s trees, wild flowers and shrubs.  A committee has appeared before the railroad commission in an effort to keep the waters of Delavan and Como Lakes from pollution.

Just now the club is preparing to observe Better Homes Week, May 10 to 17.

A little history:   The Great Lakes Archaeological Research Center in a 1978 study determined that early Paleo-Indians occupied the area around Lake Delavan as early as 5000 B.C.  This was followed by Archaic Indians, Woodland Indians and then the Mound Builders.  Pottawatomie Indians had a small camp in Assembly Park on Delavan Lake.   Between the years of 1800 and 1836 the Delavan area was part of the Indiana Territory, followed by the Illinois Territory.    Pottawatomie Indians lived along the shores of Delavan lake at the time of the treaty.   Pottawatomie Indians ceded these lands to the US government, following the Blackhawk War and the tribe agreed to move west of the Mississippi River.

                                                                               We are all living on Indigenous land.

Wisconsin Historical Society.  Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles; Delavan Club Plans to Mark Indian Camps.  Lake Geneva News, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; May 19, 1925.  Viewed online at https://www.wisconsinhistory.org.

Assembly Park photo:  Static/.squarespace.com/statictownofdelavan

1.10.24

What should I do if I own Indian artifacts?

Many of us might have found or inherited Indian artifacts.  Whether we found arrowheads while gardening or farming, or items were passed down to us through inheritance, we might wonder what we could do with those items.   Attached you will find a 14 minute video entitled:

Helping Them Home:  The Need to Return Artifacts and Sacred Objects to Native American Tribes

View at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjeGGOGlquU

Arrowheads, clay pots, broken pots, stone bowls, baskets, drawings, and clothing are all artifacts that could be further studied, cataloged, preserved, and returned to the native tribes.   The video produced by the Oregon State Park details the importance of returning Indian artifacts to their original tribes, as these items help define and further preserve the heritage of the Indian tribes.

Below is a picture of a large display of Indian artifacts.

 

Credit:   Helping Them Home:  The Need to Return Artifacts and Sacred Objects to Native AmericanTribes was developed by the Oregon State Parks. (www.oregonstateparks.org).

 

12.12.23

Why are so many Indian mounds unrecognizable?

Even though archeology records confirm 65 Indian mounds existed as of 1926 and estimates suggest that as many as 100 Indian mounds might have stood on the shores of Delavan Lake, why aren’t we able to identify them?   Hundreds of mounds were destroyed by early settlers who didn’t know what they were.  Constant cultivation of the land eliminated all traces of most of the mounds.  Overgrowth, erosion, logging, as well as human digging have left a lot of the the mounds unrecognizable.  If you enjoy hiking and walking the trails of Wisconsin, you might well have stepped across one.  Dr. Amy Rosebrough of the University of Wisconsin would say the mounds “are shy and if they see a camera they sink down into the earth and hide themselves.”

Tribal groups and archaeologists keep most of them a closely held secret as the mounds are illegally looted for trinkets, even though you can be prosecuted as a felony under state laws governing burial grounds, archaeological artifacts on public lands, and under federal laws pertaining to public land.  Documented in 1926 are six circular mounds in what is now Assembly Park, all of which have been disturbed by relic hunters.  These “Sunday mound diggers” were often tourists digging into Indian mounds for fun, not realizing they were disturbing graves over 700 years old. (S. Lahey)Today, archaeologists rarely excavate a mound and all burial sites are currently protected from disturbance under the State’s burial sites law Wisconsin Statutes s.157.70.   According to Wisconsin State Archaeologist Robert Birmingham, 80% of mounds have been destroyed in Wisconsin.

A 50-foot-tall platform mound in Santee National Wildlife Refuge in Clarendon County is very noticeable, while many mounds are just ridges left by retreating flood tides, or levee walls for logging or farming.  (Photo Santee-Indiana Mound)

To archeologists, the mounds remain a scarce, irreplaceable insight into cultures in the region and how they dealt with environs.  “Every little clue is important to understanding past societies.”

  1. Peterson, January 28, 2012.  Buried in history:  Secrecy protects local Indian mounds. 
  2. T. Lahey. At the Lake Magazine, February 26, 2016.   Building Mounds, Unearthing History. 
  3. Rosebrough, Native American Effigy Mounds, http://www.c-span.org/video/?322375-1/native-american-effigy-mounds.
  4. Montgomery, Beloit Daily News, September 25, 2020.  Making the past present:  Beloit College faculty, students raise awareness of burial mounds.

11.30.23

Did you know the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus also has a rich history of Indian mounds?

As the Town of Delavan looks into how to preserve and maintain our Indian mounds located in Community Park, the Parks and Tourism Committee reached out to Dr. Amy Roseborough for her advice and guidance.  Dr. Amy Rosebrough is a Staff Archaeologist with the Office of the State Archaeologist at the Wisconsin Historical Society. A native of the Missouri Ozarks, she has long had an interest in burial monuments and archaeology. She is an alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she received her doctorate for region-wide re-analysis of Wisconsin’s effigy mounds and mound builders.

Click on the link to learn more from Dr. Roseborough and to tour the Indian mounds located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin which has more effigy mounds than any other university in the world.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?322375-1/native-american-effigy-mounds

Source:  Native American Effigy Mounds, C-Span Cities Tour.  American History TV.

11.08.23
Community Park has Effigy Mounds?

Yes, we do.  We have two! 

In 1924 archaeologist Charles E. Brown identified a bird and a shape similar to a comet in Community Park.  (See photo).  Brown called them the “inlet mound group” because of their proximity to the Delavan Lake Inlet.   Archeology records confirm that 65 mounds existed as of 1926 and estimates suggest that as many as 100 mounds might have stood on the shores of Delavan Lake.  (Sarah T. Lahey)

The ”bird effigy” located in Community Park measured 85 feet and the “comet” shaped effigy measured 132 feet long.   Effigy mounds represented an ancient belief system in which earth, air, and water spirits lived in balance with each other.  The air effigies, often shaped like birds, signaled the strong but kind force of the Upper World.  The water effigies, resembled turtles or lizards stood for the menacing force of the Lower World.  The earth effigies, shaped like bears or men represented everything in between.  Evidence suggests that mound-builders of this period (700-1100 A.D.) were ancestors of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Sarah T. Lahey, Lake Magazine, “Building Mounds, Unearthing History.” April 18, 2017.

Archaeology Inventory and Evaluation, Walworth County Metropolitan Sewerage District.  David F. Overstreet, Ph.D., Principal Investigator.  9.1.76.

What is the most famous effigy mound in the world?

Serpent Mound is an internationally known National Historic Landmark build by the ancient American Indian cultures of Ohio.  It is an effigy mound shaped like a snake with a curled tail.  (see photo of Serpent Mound)

Aerial image taken between 1960-1980 shows the full Serpent Mound site in Adams County, Ohio.  Photo courtesy of Ohio History Connection via Ohio Memory.

 10.25.23
What is meant by the term EFFIGY MOUND?

Wisconsin is the geological center of effigy mound distribution, with more effigy mound sites than anywhere else in the world!    Effigy mounds are giant earthen sculptures that may be shrines built to honor the powerful spirits they represent.   Effigy mounds in southern Wisconsin and eastern Iowa typically were used for burial.

The stories and legends of the Native Americans whose ancestors built the mounds describe the effigy mounds as ceremonial and sacred sites.  Archeologists believe the effigy mounds delineated territories of choice gathering and hunting grounds.  COMMUNITY PARK in DELAVAN contains at least two effigy mounds, one shaped as a serpent-like water effigy that measures roughly 132 feet long and an 85 foot bird effigy.   Delavan’s rich Native American history is important to preserve and the Town of Delavan Parks and Tourism Committee is dedicated to honor, remember, and respect this sacred gift left to our Town.

Pictured below are effigy mounds of the Wisconsin River Valley, Man Mound Park located in Baraboo, Wisconsin and a falcon effigy of the upper Mississippi River.

Watch for more information about Effigy Mounds and the Indian Mounds of Community Park in Delavan. 

Effigy Moundbuilders, National Park Service, May 17, 2021.

Archaeology Inventory and Evaluation, Walworth County Metropolitan Sewerage District.  David F. Overstreet, Ph.D., Principal Investigator.  9.1.76.

Why return it to its natural state?

Burial sites are universally considered sacred, and it is DNR policy that all such areas on DNR properties will be appropriately cared for, and will be treated with the respect they deserve.  No disturbance may take place near the perimeter or base of a mound; visitors should not walk over or picnic on burial mounds and other designated burial sites.  Mounds are considered to be human burial sites and are protected on all non-federal lands in the state of Wisconsin’s Burial Sites Preservation Law (Wis.Stats 157.70) and Wisconsin’s Field Archaeology Act (Wis. Stats 44.47).

 Delavan is very fortunate to have such a rich history with Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi tribes settling on the shores of Lake Delavan.  There’s a newfound respect for the wishes of descendants. These sites are sacred sites to Native Americans and the Town of Delavan plans to meet those wishes.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  Burials, Earthworks and Mounds Preservation Policy and Plan.  DNR Burial Site Maintenance Plan (Final).  Spring 2008.