Despite decades of rumors, headstone is not a grave marker for n - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bobby's Bama

Despite decades of rumors, headstone is not a grave marker for native American individual


There is a little "nook" in what many still call the Decatur Boat Harbor where you will see a granite stone marker and momentous left by visiting Native Americans.  It is not, according to the experts, a grave - but a memorial paying homage to the people who inhabited this place long ago.

Larry Smith is the Cherokee Tribe Red Wind District Chairman.

Smith says, "Her name was Linda Woods.  She was known as "Little Raven", and she set upon herself to start raising money to put up a permanent memorial, and she is the one who designed the memorial, had it cut and everything and put here."

Smith says this place and many of the remains found along the river banks around Decatur are remnants of a people and time which predates the Cherokee and other nations.

History buff and Morgan County Archivist John Allison agrees, "We have evidence of human habitation going back 14-thousand years. Some of the projection points we have found, some of the spear points in the Tennessee Valley around here are absolutely for taking down Mammoths, so we have long, long history here and of course here along the river, the river was just absolutely vital to the people who lived here."

Part of that evidence focuses on a local food source, according to Smith.  "Pile of muscle shells where the people collected the muscles and they ate the muscles and they put the shells in a pile.  So this collected over century's and time. And then in those times they used them for burials.  The would actually bury their dead in those shell middons." 

Allison says it's easy to track ancient peoples in this manner.  "We know a lot about the pattern of settlement around here and a sort of a seasonal fluctuations of populations as they followed the food."

Fair warning if you do come out to pay homage at this site, make certain you don't take any artifacts or arrow heads with you.  If you do, you could be arrested.

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