The Meadowcroft Rockshelter

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter is an ancient American Indian site located on the north bank of Cross Creek about 30 miles southwest of present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cross Creek is a tributary of the Ohio River. Archaeologists generally agree that American Indians were using this site by 14,500 years ago and continued to use it until the late 18th century. When it was first occupied by American Indians, the Laurentide Glacier was just 223 kilometers (134 miles) to the north. Meadowcroft was a temporary site used for hunting, food gathering, and food-processing activities.

Meadowcroft is a stratified, multicomponent site. Stratigraphy is an archaeological concept based on the Law of Superposition:  “in a series of layers and interfacial features, as originally created, the upper units of stratification are younger and the lower are older, for each must have been deposited on, or created by the removal of, a pre-existing mass of archaeological stratification.”  In other words, digging down into a stratified site means that the youngest material will be toward the surface; greater physical depth means greater temporal depth. Stratigraphy provides archaeologists with relative dating: an artifact can be said to be older than another artifact if it is found at a deeper stratigraphic layer.

At Meadowcroft there are eleven strata. Within these strata archaeologists uncovered a variety of different kinds of organic materials which were dated through radiocarbon assay.

The earliest occupants of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter were generalized hunter-gatherers who utilized a technology which archaeologists call the Miller Complex. The complex includes the production of blade tools produced from polyhedral blade cores and bifacial, unfluted, projectile points.

Later occupations at the site include representatives of all of the major cultural periods for eastern North America.

Stone tools provide some insights into ancient cultures as evidence of subsistence activities, such as hunting, fishing, and wild plant gathering. In addition, stone tools can provide some information about connections with other peoples and geographic regions.  With regard to the geography of the stone tools found at Meadowcroft, archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley, in their book Across Atlantic Ice: The Origins of America’s Clovis Culture, write:  “Although most of the raw material used by the Meadowcroft flintknappers were of local origin, exceptions include Flint Ridge chert from eastern Ohio, Kanawha chert from West Virginia, and Onondaga chert from New York.”

With regard to dating, archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley write:  “We agree that Meadowcroft may have been occupied as early as 19,200 years ago, and was clearly occupied by around 14,600 years ago by people whose biface and blade technology could be ancestral to Clovis.”

While a number of archaeologists disagree—some strongly—with the 19,200 year date and have claimed that the sample must have been contaminated, repeated laboratory analysis has consistently failed to detect any contamination.

Meadowcroft was last occupied by American Indians in the late 1700s. Archaeological excavation of the site started in 1973 and the site is generally considered one of the most carefully excavated sites in North America. Meadowcroft also changed the way many archaeologists envisioned the early habitation of North America: the site is much earlier than many would like. It means that people were living in North America prior to the end of the last ice age.

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter was named a National Historic Landmark in 2005. Today the site includes a museum and the re-creation of a 1570s Monongahela Culture Indian Village.

Sac and Fox INDN Candidate Key to Democrats Retaining Chamber in Pennsylvania

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In 2006 Democrats retook the Pennsylvania State House for the first time since 1994 by one seat. The last and decisive race went to a recount and was won by only 28 votes.This seat was won by INDN’s List endorsed candidate Barbara McIlvaine Smith, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation. She was also the first Indian elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, making her victory vitally important for both the Democratic Party and Indian Country.

Now, Republicans are attempting to retake the House in Pennsylvania and they know they cannot flip the chamber unless they defeat Representative Barbara McIlvaine Smith. So, they’re committed to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars from their special interest friends to beat Barbara.

We need your immediate donation to help us fight back against this onslaught of Republican special interest money!

In the past four years in the legislature, Barbara has fought for a livable wage for all workers, affordable access to healthcare, quality education for all and a healthier, cleaner environment. Additionally, out of 201 legislators, she is one of two who post all legislative expenses online to ensure transparency.

INDN’s List is proud to stand with the first Indian elected to the Pennsylvania legislature and endorses Barbara McIlvaine Smith for reelection.

Sand Hill Indians now Claim Manhattan

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On February 17, 2009, the oldest indigenous Native American tribe in NJ filed a lawsuit against the State of NJ, Governor Corzine, and his Administration, as well as the NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs. That lawsuit is still in Federal Court at this moment and has NOT been dismissed.

In fact, the scope of the case has expanded exponentially.  As of a new filing on June 16, 2010, the territory now includes the Island of Manhattan & Hudson areas, the State of Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey.

The NJ Sand Hill Band of Lenape & Cherokee Indians (the Sand Hill) headed by Chief Yonaguska Holloway has appealed to the UN for assistance.  The UN is now representing the tribe and the case may actually move to The Hague if the tribe does not get justice through the American courts and through negotiations with the United States.

Judge Hayden, the Federal Judge who allegedly has been stalling this trial since last year, has taken early retirement, although no one involved in the case has been formally notified.

It’s rumored that the Federal government has finally stepped in, but they have not reached out directly to Chief Holloway.  As the Federal government appears to drag their feet and avoid the inevitable negotiating table, the stakes are getting bigger.

The Sand Hill are using this time to gather the evidence they need to make their case that much more ironclad.  Just over the past few months they have gathered more evidence of their claim not only to NJ but Manhattan, Delaware, and Eastern PA.

What began as a lawsuit in one state is morphing into the largest land claim ever made by Native Americans and is precedent-setting for the rest of the Indian Nations.  The problem confronting the Federal Government appears to be their inability to figure out how to even begin approaching this matter with the Sand Hills.

The ridiculousness of the situation is that a simple sit-down with President Obama over iced tea and pizza could go a long way towards resolving what is turning into a territorial crisis for the United States.

The Sand Hill are a patient and reasonable people, but everyone has a limit.  Justice delayed is justice denied, and as their rights have been trampled ever since they reached out a hand to Henry Hudson 400 year ago, their patience is now wearing thin.

It appears that the sheer magnitude of the situation is preventing any progress at all.  But like any other overwhelming problem, resolutions often begin with a simple conversation.

So far, only one NJ Congressman’s office (Congressman Steve Rothman) has had the foresight to contact representatives of the Sand Hill after Chief Holloway’s speech at the United Nations.  On three separate occasions thereafter, the Sand Hill Government Liaison contacted Rothman’s office.  The last time was to notify the Congressman of the latest filing and to request a meeting with him.   As of this writing there has been no acknowledgement of receiving either the motion or the request.

It might behoove the Congressman, as this is an election year, to get ahead of the situation, and score a political coup by meeting with Chief Holloway as a first step towards getting the Federal Government to the table without pressure from the United Nations.

I am seriously advising my elected officials to meet with Chief Holloway while his hand is still outstretched.  I have interviewed Chief Holloway about this many times over the past two years.  He has always been and still is willing to discuss this matter with the appropriate Federal officials in order to reach a reasonable conclusion.

How to get involved

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I’m a white teenager from Bucks County, Pennsylvania who is hoping to get involved in the betterment for the Native American community.  I joined this forum because it is so hard for me, having no background in the Native American culture, to really grasp where to start learning and understanding the modern aspects.  There also aren’t a lot of major organizations in my area on the web in which a teen has the opportunity to get involved, or I’m looking in all the wrong places.  My desire is to teach high school level students on a reservation.  It started as an interest, then an infatuation, to guilt, and finally a motivation for change.  If anyone knows of anyway for me to get involved locally, it would be so much appreciated.  I feel so lost.