Destroying Big Mound

In 1869, the so-called Big Mound of St. Louis was destroyed. But the destruction and desacration of this Indigenous monument did not end there. In this presentation, I trace the multiple destructions endured by the monument and the politics behind its memorialization. I question the conmemoration efforts made in 1929 under the sponsorship of the Colonial Dames of America, an association dedicated to honoring the memory of the very agents involved in the destruction and disposession of the Indigenous populations the marker they installed supposedly conmemorates. I discuss the displacement of this marker in 2014 by the Missouri Department of Transportation in connection with the construction of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge. I argue that successive efforts to conmemorate the monument, as well as other indigenous sites, have operated as a set of settler colonial technologies that contributed to several erasures, eliding the claims of Indigenous populations and constructing an image of these monuments as empty, abandoned ruins through their physical and conceptual un-making.

9 February 2022
50th Anniversary Lectures
Sci Arc