In recognition of Sacred Sites Day, local Native American community members will honor the owners of the Chickamauga Mound at the site on Sunday at 8 a.m.
Sacred Sites Day is a time set aside to honor and protect places with cultural and historic significance to the Native American population. This year’s local celebration will pay homage to not only the Chickamauga Mound itself, but the owner of the land on which the site is located.
Currently, Chickamauga Mound belongs to Atlantic Distributors, Inc., a local food service distributor. The company has allowed area Native Americans to keep the site sacred by caring for and cleaning the Mound.
"We are exceedingly grateful that ADI has allowed us to preserve such an integral part of our history for future generations,” said Tom Kunesh, a member of the Advisory Council on Tennessee Indian Affairs and worker on the Mound.
ADI, completely unaware of the Mound when the property was first purchased, has come to recognize its significance.
“After we discovered the fenced-in Mound during renovation, I became very interested and started to do some research,” said Kenny Wilhoit, president and owner of ADI. “After speaking with a few local Native Americans, I have seen what the site means to their community and heritage and have granted them complete access to it. This is what I feel is the right thing to do.”
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, Chickamauga Mound is recognized as Chattanooga’s oldest human structure. The Mound was established 2,000 years ago when an unknown band of Native Americans began to inter their respected leaders and elders at the site.