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“Cahokian” November 29, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Music.
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This song by Jay Farrar is inspired by Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a former 11th-century American Indian city that is off an old alignment of Route 66 near Collinsville, Ill.

The footage in this video provides a lot to think about — namely, the passage of time and/or mankind’s progress. Those who have studied the history and evolution of Route 66 probably will relate.

“Side by side sit the trashpile twin” refers to a landfill a few miles away that’s nearly as tall as the massive Monks Mound at Cahokia Mounds. Landfills are necessary, I suppose, but I always regarded that one as a sort of abomination when one considers the majesty of the hand-made Monks Mound.

Also, a good chunk of early St. Louis was built on the site of other American Indian mounds — mounds that were destroyed and leveled long before folks saw its historical and cultural significance. That’s why St. Louis sometimes is called the Mound City. Very few of this original mounds remain in St. Louis.

Farrar is the front man for rock band Son Volt and was a co-founder of Uncle Tupelo, a highly influential country-rock band. Farrar grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Ill., and lives in St. Louis, so he knows of what he sings in “Cahokian.”

(Hat tip: Roger Kramer)

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