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University of Tennessee Agriculture Farm Mound

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The UTK Agriculture Farm Mound site is an archaeological site on the agriculture campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. The site is a burial mound made by people of the Woodland period, and has been dated as early as ca. 644 AD.[1][1] Today, the site is a landmark on the UTK campus and is listed in the National Register for Historic Places.[2]

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We've all heard about how many bad things the U.S. government did to American Indians in the past. But what about today? Like most people, the only time I hear about today's American Indians is when people are outraged about sports mascots or team names, like the Washington Redskins. But sports teams' names are the least of Indians' problems. Did you know that Indians have the highest rate of poverty of any racial group in America? Did you know that alcoholism is more common among Indian youths than among youths in any other ethnic group? Did you know that the rate of child abuse among Indians is twice as high as the national average? Until I visited Indian reservations for my book, The New Trail of Tears, I didn't know any of this. What was at the root of these terrible problems? I wondered. And the deeper I dug, the more I realized that, between the 19th century and today, nothing has changed: it's still the government. The two main agencies that oversee the activities of Indians who live on reservations are the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, and the Bureau of Indian Education, or BIE. Education, economic development, tribal courts, road maintenance, agriculture and social services – the federal government basically funds and controls all of it. It's no wonder Indians say BIA stands for “Bossing Indians Around.” Together, these two agencies have combined budgets of $3 billion per year, and have 9,000 employees. That's one employee for every 111 Indians on a reservation. Of that $3 billion per year, the BIE uses $850 million of it to educate 42,000 students. That's more than $20,000 per student, compared to a national average of $12,400 per student. Plenty of other federal agencies also have programs for Indians. For instance, the Indian Health Service had a 2015 budget of over $4.6 billion. And yet, there are widespread and documented reports of nurses being unable to administer basic drugs, of broken resuscitation equipment, and of unsanitary medical facilities. Obviously, inadequate funding isn't the problem. The billions of dollars that the federal government spends on Indians every year hasn't made their lives better. In fact, by most measures of economic and social health, the lives of American Indians are only getting worse. Aside from issues of culture, the only way out of this morass is economic growth, but the reservation system makes this almost impossible. Following a series of treaties and laws over many decades – some well intentioned, some not – the federal government decided to hold Indian land “in trust” in order to prevent non-Indians from ever buying that land. But other than Indians, the only people who have things held in trust for them are children and the mentally incompetent. Can anything better illustrate the low regard the government has for American Indians? The awful consequence of this land trust is that Indians can't sell their land, which means they can't use it the same way other Americans do – for example, as collateral to get a loan to start a business. What bank would lend to landowners who don't own their land? The other effect of this absurdity is that Indians can't develop this land that they don't own. Indian reservations contain almost 30 percent of the nation's coal reserves west of the Mississippi, 50 percent of potential uranium reserves, and 20 percent of known oil and gas reserves. Those resources are estimated to be worth nearly $1.5 trillion. But the vast majority of Indian lands with natural resources remain undeveloped because of federal regulations. For instance, for Indians to get permission to mine for coal on Indian land requires 49 steps spanning four federal agencies. Each of these 49 steps can take months or years to be approved. There are so many government regulations that just to apply for a permit to dig a hole costs $6,500. Is it really any wonder that this community is mired in poverty? So, what can be done? For starters, end the trust system. Let Indians do what they want with the land they own. Get the massive federal bureaucracy out of the way. Give American Indians the opportunity to embrace the same thing that has lifted millions of other people out of poverty and into the middle class: free enterprise. It won't happen overnight, and it won't be easy, but it will do a lot more for American Indians than changing the name of the Washington Redskins. I'm Naomi Schaefer Riley for Prager University.



The site is located at the Agricultural Campus at the corner of Joe Johnson Drive and Chapman Drive.[3] In 2011, a garden was built around the site to protect it from "construction damage" [4] and attract interest and attention to the mound. The design of the garden was developed by Hendrik van de Werken and Don Williams, professors of Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design at UT, and was revised by Sam Rogers, who is an associate professor in the Department of Plant Sciences.[1] The president of the Tennessee Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta (The Honor Society of Agriculture), Fred Allen, proposed the project to the UT Chapter in 2008 "as a long term service project to enhance the educational opportunities and aesthetic beauty of the site".[3] Project directors enlisted the help of the Eastern Cherokee tribe and Tribal Historic Preservation. Principal Chief Michell Hicks attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and elder Mertyl Driver blessed the site.[4]

According to the UT Institute of Agriculture, "The goal of the project is to honor the Native American tradition dating back to 644 A.D. when the Woodland People used burial mounds as a way of burying and honoring their deceased."[1] The mound is considered[by whom?] a valuable piece of the UT Gardens.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
  2. ^ City of Knoxville
  3. ^ a b Gamma Sigma Delta
  4. ^ a b Cherokee One Feather


  1. “Activities and Projects: Indian Mound Adopt-a-Spot”, Gamma Sigma Delta, Retrieved November 18, 2012
  2. Fielder, George F., Archaeological Survey with Emphasis on Prehistoric Sites of The Oak Ridge Reservation Oak Ridge [1], Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Research Library, Retrieved November 18, 2012
  3. Media Advisory, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, June 13, 2011
  4. “Preservation of Works: Mayor’s Task Force on Historic Preservation”, City of Knoxville, Retrieved November 18, 2012
  5. “Ribbon Cutting held at UT’s Native American Mound Garden”, Cherokee One Feather, June 22, 2011
  6. “UT and Cherokee Officials Dedicate Native American Interpretive Garden on Agriculture Campus”, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, June 23, 2011

External links

This page was last edited on 13 August 2018, at 03:44
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