11.10.20 – OAKVILLE MOUNDS, LAWRENCE CO.
The Oakville Indian Mound complex was the heart of a large cultural center that dominated the Moulton Valley along Flint Creek and its tributaries during the Middle Woodland period. Built by the Copena culture more than 2,000 years ago and occupied by indigenous peoples until the Cherokee were forced west, five mounds were reported at Oakville when the Bureau of American Ethnology documented the site in 1926. Since that time three of the mounds have been leveled by local farmers. The two remaining mounds include an 8 meter high square platform mound (one of the largest platform mounds in the state of Alabama) and a 4 meter high conical burial mound. In the 1840s, American settlers established the “Old Settler Cemetery” on top of the burial mound and are interred under false limestone slate crypts (image 1).
While many Cherokee were forcibly relocated, some mixed-race European/Cherokee stayed in the area following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Calling themselves "Black Dutch" to avoid discrimination, the descendents of this group have recently reclaimed their Cherokee ancestry. Four thousand people are now enrolled as members of the state-recognized Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama – a tribe not federally recognized, nor recognized by any of the federally recognized Cherokee communities.