Barbacoa to benefit Etowah Indian Mounds April 6
by Marie Nesmith
Mar 22, 2013 | 858 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To enhance Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site’s offerings, its Friends organization will partner with the Etowah Valley Historical Society to present Barbacoa April 6. Starting at 6 p.m., the event will feature a silent auction, wine, storytelling by Gary Grizzly Greene beside the bonfire, a sit-down dinner catered by Johnny Mitchell, torchlight hayrides and a to-be-announced speaker.

Along with highlighting the historic site, the Barbacoa will serve as a fundraiser for the Etowah Indian Mounds, with proceeds going toward improvements, such as repairing its 15-foot-by-15-foot replica of a wattle-and-daub house.

“The wattle-and-daub house is an authentic accurate reproduction of the type housing the people at Etowah would have lived in during the time of occupation,” said Steve McCarty, interpretive park ranger for Etowah Indian Mounds. “The house would have been large enough for four to six people, made of what we call wattle and daub. [It] is a river cane sapling frame, which is the wattle, covered with a mud plaster, which is the daub.

“This also has a thatch roof on it, which is in need of replacement now. That’s the pressing need as well as repair work on the walls. What you have is a natural deterioration, a state of decay, that these people would have encountered also, which would require periodic maintenance and repair work.”

Since the structure was constructed about four years ago, McCarty said the living-history exhibit has enhanced the visitors’ overall understanding of the site.

“It brings to life what we’re telling people about the way that the people of Etowah lived,” he said. “It’s a hands-on thing. It’s something they can actually see. They don’t have to imagine it. It’s there.

“They can go inside. They can look. They can see. They understand much, much better how people lived after seeing the hut.”

Situated at 813 Indian Mounds Road S.W. in Cartersville, the 54-acre venue is where several thousand American Indians lived from A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1550. Regarded as the most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast, the Etowah Indian Mounds features six earthen mounds, a village area, a plaza, borrow pits and defensive ditch.

“It is one of the most important sites among Native Americans and professional Native American speakers in the country,” EVHS Co-president Dianne Tate said. “My husband has been on the national Trail of Tears committee and now is a state advisor. So many times he hears from people in other parts of the country like Dr. Duane King [formerly] with the Native American museum in New York City that the Etowah mounds is so significant because of the culture around it because of the trade routes between this part of the country and other places.

“... I think we all are used to it being here and are appreciative of it, but we don’t necessarily see it like other people do. So we want to do anything we can to make sure that it gets highlighted and has the improvements it needs for the many guests that it brings to this area.”

Tickets, which are $20 each, need to be purchased in advance at the Etowah Indian Mounds Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or at the EVHS Office at the 1903 Gold Domed Bartow County Courthouse — 115 W. Cherokee Ave. in Cartersville — Tuesday through Friday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Interested people also can reserve a ticket by calling the EVHS Office, 770-606-8862, until April 3. Auction items, valued at a minimum of $35 each, also are being sought for the event. Some of the current auction items include fine art paintings, a hand-sewn doll, jewelry and museum passes.