Mysterious Oneoto Sioux Garden Beds of Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana

Mysterious Oneoto Sioux Ancient Garden Beds of Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana


In Northwestern and Southwestern Indiana, the cultural influence is from the west and associated with the Oneoto Sioux. Wilbur Cunningham reported in “A Study of the Glacial Kame Culture” in 1948, “Equally significant was the discovery of the presence of Oneota and Fisher Focus in the southwest corner of Michigan and the north-central part of Indiana.”  

Were the garden beds for agriculture or park-like places of peace and tranquility?



The Pioneer Society of Michigan, Annual Meeting of 1877
Ancient Garden Beds of Michigan by Bela Hubbard. "Garden Beds" were found in the valleys of the St. Joseph and Grand Rivers, where they occupied the most fertile of the prairie land and burr-oak plains, principally in the counties of St. Joseph, Cass and Kalamazoo.
They consist of raised patches of ground, separated by sunken paths, and were generally arranged in plats or blocks of parallel beds. These varied in dimension, being from five to sixteen feet in width, in length from twelve to more than one hundred feet, and in height six to eighteen inches.
The tough sod of the prairie had preserved very sharply all the outlines. According to the universal testimony, these beds were laid out and fashioned with a skill, order and symmetry which distinguished them from the ordinary operations of agriculture, and were combined with some peculiar features that belong to no recognized system of horticultural art...




Archaeology of the United States by Samual Haven 1855


There are two other classes of remains whose origins are involved in equal obscurity- the emblematic earthworks of Wisconsin, and the so called "Garden Beds" found in the same state, and also in Michigan and Indiana. The last have hitherto been but incidentally noticed in this paper.

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