COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is reintroducing a bill to make the state historic site Cahokia Mounds a National Park.
U.S. Congressman Mike Bost has also introduced a bill to make the site a National Park.
Cahokia Mounds is located just outside of Collinsville. It is a United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site.
The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau supports both Durbin and Bost’s bills.
COVID caused Cahokia Mounds to hold their annual celebration of Native American culture virtually in November 2020.
“It’s very important not only for our local history, but our regional history, and the history of America, in general,” said Lori Belkamp, superintendent of the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. “The culture that lived here left about 1,000 years ago and when they left the site they moved into all directions. So, there’s many Native Americans in the area that can claim ancestry back to here.”
They had over 25 Native American artists selling their creations, hosted by the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society to raise funds for outreach and educational programs.
Usually there is a live market that runs for three days.
“Sometimes we have 7,000 people here over that time. Because of the virus we are going virtual for that market. So, we’re still trying to make the items available to our supporters and our visitors,” Belkamp said.
The Mississippian culture lived here from 900 until they left the site around the year 1350.
“The Osage, the Ponca, the Kansa, the Wapa,” Belkamp said. “Those are some contemporary tribes that we think can really trace their ancestry back here very clearly.”