West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Grave Creek Mound to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month With Nov. 29 Talk “Native Wisdom: Lessons from the Elders and the Land”


MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Robert Pirner, lecturer in Native American Studies at West Virginia University (WVU), will present the interactive discussion “Native Wisdom: Lessons from the Elders and the Land”  at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville. The program, timed to coincide with Native American Heritage Month, is free and open to the public.

Pirner’s program will present the “Lakota Way of Life,” which he learned from the people of the Spring Creek Community on the Rosebud Lakota Reservation in South Dakota. His talk will touch upon the art, politics, history, religion, social problems and culture of the Lakota people.

A self-described family man, small-town guy, nonprofit executive and mentor, Pirner grew up and lived for more than 30 years in the Spring Creek Community, one of the last traditional Lakota communities. He is one of approximately 6,000 speakers of the Lakota language. Members of his community, including medicine men Leonard Crow Dog, Joe Eagle Elk and Chief Eagle Feather, have been the subjects of several books.

Pirner has developed and taught numerous courses for the Native American Studies program at WVU such as “Lakota Studies,” “Lakota Wisdom—Lessons from the Elders and the Land” and “Native American Filmmakers.”

The 2012 lecture and film series continues Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, with the showing of a documentary film, Poverty Point Earthworks: Evolutionary Milestones of the Americas. One of the few archaeological and historic sites in North American that is both a state historic site and national monument, the Poverty Point site in northeast Louisiana was home to one of the most important prehistoric cultures on the continent. 

For more information about the lecture and film series, which is held in conjunction with the Upper Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Archaeological Society, contact David Rotenizer, site manager at Grave Creek Mound, at (304) 843-4128.

Operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Grave Creek features one of the largest conical burial mounds in the New World and is one of the largest earthen mortuary mounds in the world. Exhibits and displays in the Delf Norona Museum interpret what is known about the lives of these prehistoric people and the construction of the mound. The complex also houses the West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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