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Standing Stone Monument Keeping Native Heritage In Public Eye

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Standing Stone Monument Keeping Native Heritage In Public Eye

Standing Stone Day is Saturday and the centerpiece to the celebration has a long history in the area.

The Monterey Depot Museum’s Dale Welch said the Standing Stone is believed to have been created over 1,500 years ago. Welch said that is based on an indigenous mound village towards Livingston that worshiped the sun.

However, Welch said that in 1893 the railroad came in and blew up the monument.

“There was a group called the Improved Order of The Red Men that took a portion of the stone and had it engraved in Cookeville,” Welch said. “And brought back up ceremoniously and put where our library is now.”

Welch said that the original settlers in the area had no idea what the monument was, just knowing it was a dog like figure that was unfamiliar to them. He said based on the beliefs of the nearby mound dwelling community, the purpose of the monument lines up with their practices.

“Down at the bottom of the mountain towards Livingston there was a mound village that survived there for about 500 years,” Welch said. “They were sun worshipers and their idols either set towards the rising or toward the setting sun. The Standing Stone set due west toward the setting sun.”

Welch said that rich Native American history in the area was reinvigorated in the late 1970’s. Welch said that Dr. Opless Walker came up with the idea to create Standing Stone Day to celebrate Native American Heritage.

“Op heard stories that his mama told him about it,” Welch said. “He investigated it and he’s the guy that brought it back and it’s been celebrated now, officially for about 42 years.”


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