The settlers who arrived in the 1830s found friendly natives of the Potawatomi tribe. Their Chief Shabbona often visited at Gougar Crossing, preferring to sleep on the floor while his wife slept in the bed. At Gougar Crossing an Indian burial site was marked by the traditional pole with a white feather attached. At the conclusion of the Black Hawk War in 1832, the Indians from the area were forced to move to the west of the Mississippi River (the Indians pronounced "Mississippi" as "Sinnissippi;" meaning "rocky waters").
The discovery of three Indian skeletons during an archaeological dig in New Lenox, Illinois in 1993 gave birth to the Midwest SOARRING (Save Our Ancestors' Remains and Resources Indigenous Network Group) Foundation.
|Joseph Standing Bear Schranz|
For a year after the bodies were found, Midwest SOARRING conducted an honor guard at the site and made sure the bodies were repatriated by the Miami tribe in Oklahoma. Archaeologists believed there may have been more bodies, but Schranz considered this a sacred site and wanted the bodies left undisturbed so they may continue on their journey.
|The Sanctuary Golf Course archaeological dig sites.|
|The logo of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation features a Native American medicine wheel, and a burial mound to commemorate the repatriation of the three bodies that were discovered in New Lenox in 1993. It also includes a red-tailed hawk, which always appeared during ceremonies at the New Lenox site.|
The Native American Cultural Center at 133 West 13th Street is in downtown Lockport, Illinois. It is located in the old historic train station. Schranz said he would like to make room at the cultural center to display these artifacts if the state museum would allow that. "It all belongs to the people of Will County," he said.
|Lockport Station was originally built in 1863 by the Chicago and Alton Railroad (the final name being the Alton Railroad). The tracks run parallel to the Illinois and Michigan Canal.|
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.