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March 13, 2006
Bill Lambrecht's "Mud and Bones" (Issue No. 2) brought tears to my eyes. I am of partly Native American ancestry, originally from North Carolina but now living in Nebraska. Recently, I learned of a village where the Omaha lived along the Papillion Creek in Bellevue, from 1844-1854; 1,300 were said to have occupied this site. When I uncovered this information on the internet, I immediately explored the area between the forks of the Creek and within a couple days searching, managed to find it. The tip off was the Rock Island RR that cut through; the tracks are no longer there, but I spotted the bridge that's left and followed it to the south fork and came to a flat and knew that I'd found it. I was disturbed by the fact that building has started in the area; there's already a theatre, office buildings, etc., and more planned, I fear. I was stunned that there's no historical marker, and that seemingly not many know of the significance of this site. I plan to contact the Historical Society about this to see just how much they know (hopefully more than was written on their site: two sentences that prior to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it was known only as "Indian Territory").
Mr. Lambrecht's article spoke so deeply to me because the cache pits and artifacts he mentions are also known to be at this site, discovered by Dr. Gilder some years ago. When the subdivisions, businesses and malls are all built up there, will it be forever forgotten?
Mr. Lambrecht's article touched me; to hear the stories of those affected by the damming of the Missouri, heartbreaking. I live not far from the Missouri that he writes about and it is almost mind boggling to think that there are so many burial sites along the river that have been affected by the damming. From now on, when I pass over the river or am near it in Bellevue at the park, I will never look at it in the same way. Sacred lands ... sacred waters, but does anyone care? I'll do all in my power to make certain the citizens of this county are aware and to realize what they are building over there on the land where once the Omaha lived; their last home before being forced to leave for the reservation.
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