April 22, 2012 - Earth Day (and OK Day)

This very important day calls attention to the effects of human activities on the environment. Our Earth has precious water and air to protect, wildlife to cherish, and forests to preserve. Perhaps most important, it has climate patterns that we depend on in our agriculture. Let's try our best to save the Earth, by which I really mean to save ourselves!

Check out this and this other earlier posts about Earth Day.
Here is the official Earth Day 2012 website.

Also on this date:

Oklahoma Day

Today commemorates the date when the “Oklahoma Lands” were opened for European settlement. Some state organizations will have special exhibits and concerts. Some schools will have lessons touching on the subject tomorrow.

Did you know that Oklahoma was one of the first states in the U.S. to pass laws that protect archeological sites? In the 1930s, commercial excavations revealed what we now call Spiro Mounds, one of the greatest collections of Native American artifacts in the U.S. 

The Spiro people lived during “Pre-Columbian” times, which simply means before Columbus came to the New World. They settled in the area that is now Oklahoma but developed trade and communication with people from California and the Pacific, to Virginia and the Atlantic, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. They shared information about growing plants, mound building, religious ceremonies, and iconographic (picture) writing.

What do I mean by “mound building”? Mounds are earthworks, hills of earth built by the Spiro people. Some of the earthen mounds surrounded a level plaza where rituals and games were carried out. Some were burial mounds. Some of the mounds were platform mounds, which looked like pyramids with their tops cut off and temples built on the flat tops. Platform mounds usually had earthen ramps leading to the top, or stairways made of logs.

The Spiro Mounds were abandoned by 1450, almost half a century before Columbus "discovered" the West Indies, and long before European people explored the Oklahoma region. The mounds may have been abandoned because increasingly large bison herds lured the people into a more nomadic hunting lifestyle rather than a settled farming lifestyle.

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