Early Historians Identify the Ohio Hopewell as Dakota Sioux

Early Historians Identify the Ohio Hopewell as Dakota Sioux and Cherokee

Chief White Cloud of the Ioway Sioux was the face of the Hopewell Mound Builders in the Ohio Valley,

American Antiquarian, 1891
Migrations of the mound builders:


By Stephen D. Peet. One of the most striking peculiarities about the Mound-build ers was that they avoided the coast and concentrated their forces thoroughly in the interior, making the rivers their special places of resort. We have already spoken of this in connection with the Mississippi River, and have shown that it was the great thoroughfare for the prehistoric races, the migrations of the races having been along its channels in both directions. Some of the races — such as the Dakotas — are known to have passed up from the south to the north, Perhaps the Mound-builders passed down from the north to the south at an earlier date. The Missouri River was another great artery which supplied life to the Mound-builders' territory. It is said that there are various mounds of the pyramidal type on the Missouri River, and that these have been traced at intervals along the channels, giving evidence that this was the route which the pyramid-builders tcok before they reached the stopping place. At its mouth was the capital of the pyramid-builders. The Ohio River was also an artery of the Mound-builders' territory. It was the channel through which the various Mound-builders poured. The Ohio River was the dividing line between the northern class of mound- builders, who were probably hunters, and the southern class, who were agriculturists. 

We may say, then, that it is a peculiarly favorable place to study the migrations of the Mound-builders, as well as of the later Indians. Now in reference to this subject of migration, we are aware that various writers have treated of it, and it may be regarded as a test case, having great bearing on the mound- builders' problem. It may be well, then, to refer to these opin ions before we go further. We shall speak first of the theory which Dr. Thomas has advanced. It is that the Mound-builders of the Alleghany River, those of Southern Ohio, of the Kenawha Valley and of Eastern Tennessee, were all the same people and were the ancestors of the Cherokees. Opposite to this theory is that of Sir Wm. Dawson, who holds that the Mound-builders

Haywood says the Cherokees had a tradition in which was contained the history of their migrations. It was that they came from the upper part of the Ohio, where they erected earth works. But there is a map contained in Catlin's book on the Indians which represents the route taken by the Mandans, a branch of the Dakotas. This map makes Ohio the starting point of that people, and the head-waters of the Missouri the termination of their wanderings. We regard this tradition as important as that of the Delawares or of the Iroqouis, but it is a tradition which gives just the opposite direction for the route of the Mound-builders of the district. How shall we reconcile the two accounts ? Our method of reconciling is one which we take from the study of the mounds. The Dakota tradition refers to a migration which probably preceded all the records of either the Teleghewi, the Cherokees, the Delawares and the Iroquois, the migration of the strange serpent worshipers originally occu pying this district. Our position is that all of the traditions are important, but they prove a succession of populations in this region. If Dr. Thomas is to locate the Cherokees here, we also locate the ancestors of the Dakotas, and leave the way open for others to locate other tribes, so making the Mound-builders not one. but diverse and long continued. This is our point.

Here then we vhave the evidence. The migrations of the pyramid builders, like that of the stone grave people, may have been across the Ohio valley at the west end. The migration of the circle builders, sun worshipers, may have been north or south, across the Ohio Valley at the east end; but, on the contrary, the serpent-worshipers, whose works are found on the Ohio River and on the Mississipi River, must have migrated through the whole middle district, the Ohio River being the thoroughfare. It does not seem reasonable that they were the same people who built the bee-hive vaults or even the chambered tombs, for not one such structure is found in all their western track.
Our conclusion is that there were various migrations of mound builders through and across the Ohio Valley, some of them having been sun worshipers, some of them serpent worshipers and some pyramid-builders. If any of these are to be identified with the Cherokees, others with as much reason may also be identified with the Dakotas, the testimony of tradition and of language, as well as of archaeology, coresponding on this point