Maybe this isn’t quite as spectacular an example of progress as my article 2 posts ago, but Sam’s Club and Oxford Mayor Leon Smith have determined after exhaustive business research that a 1500 year old Indigenous American ceremonial mound is a ‘natural’ formation because it isn’t on the National Register of Historic Places, which they researched so well, they called it the “Natural Register”. It was the largest stone mound of its kind in Alabama. Smith knows for fact that it was only used for smoke signals (he is, after all, at least as accurate a historian as David Barton), and that the United South and Eastern Tribes are just blowing smoke signals up his ass to claim otherwise. Really, who’s the business expert here?
In 2003, Harry Holstein of Jacksonville State University recorded in the state archeological registry that he concluded that a stone mound at the top of the hill had been constructed by American Indians over a thousand years ago. In a study contracted out by the city of Oxford to Robert Clouse, they found that the mound was definitely cultural in origin and could not have been formed by natural processes but that the site was not likely to be archaeologically significant, giving Oxford the green light to begin destruction because Walmart and Mr. Smith needed that mound for fill dirt to build a new Sam’s Club in Oxford.
Trees were cleared from the hill and roads to the top of the mound were built, so that with a little erosion, the view of the mound was definitely improved. Although they left 4 trees at the top, the beautification is now apparent.
In a January 2010 city council meeting, Clouse proved that he had earned every penny of that $67,000 contract that the city had given him. In July 2009, he did a follow-up study in which he acknowledged an earlier mistake, and now the mound couldn’t possibly have been built by human activity. He knew this because he had meticulously dismantled the mound stone by stone (with a bulldozer?). The mound (but not the hill) is now demolished so that there is no danger of contradiction. A deluded consensus of Archeologists who are familiar with the site think “that this particular evaluation is seriously flawed.” Now let’s see them prove it!
Obstructionist stodgy ivory tower groups like the Alabama Historical Commission and local Indian groups and newspapers put up such a stink that Walmart eventually used dirt from a local land owner for the Sam’s Club. That’s what happens when you don’t obliterate the Indigenous Nations as President Jackson no doubt would have liked to have done. Instead, he just killed them off slowly with forced marches to the Oklahoma Territory. The irony is that according to the N.Y. Times, Mayor Smith says he is half American Indian, though apparently he doesn’t know which half or what tribe.
Doctor Holstein, who did the original 2003 study revisited the now-flattened hilltop and was unable to find any trace of the mound he had studied earlier, but as Mr. Smith points out, he just didn’t know were to look (under the bulldozed rubble?), probably because Holstein doesn’t have any Indian blood.
Not all is lost, however, the mayor now wants to remove the top half of the hill to build a restaurant, hotel, or even a health clinic. As he notes, “It’s going to be real pretty.” The next time you visit Alabama, please remember to see Oxford and contribute to its economy. Progress depends on you.