FERMILAB: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Students' Views


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Indians and Arrowheads
by Kim

Much of what we know about the Indians in the Batavia area is because of the description left by Samuel McCarthy, an early settler in the area. In 1834 when he and his brother moved to the area, there were many Indians.

Some Potawatami Indians had a village near the Fermilab site. There were between 300 and 500 Indians in and around that village. The village chief was Waubonsie.

Settlers thought of the Indians in different ways. Colonel Lyon thought they were lazy. He tried to get Neuqua, the eldest son of Waubonsie, to do some work. He showed him the field and told him that if he would plant and cultivate a crop, he could have the harvest. The next day Neuqua came back to the field bringing 20 squaws with him. Each squaw was equipped with the tools for tilling and planting the ground. Colonel Lyon said that Neuqua had to do the work himself. Neuqua absolutely refused. He said, "Me hunt meat, squaw hunt corn."

It is because so many of the Indians "hunted meat" that the farms around Fermilab are good ground for "hunting" arrowheads.

When we took our trip to Fermilab we saw a lot of neat stones, fossils, and arrowheads displayed on the 15th floor of the main building. These artifacts were collected by Mr. August Mier, a farmer, and Dr. Ann Early, an archaeologist. They found all of them on the farms in the area.

Mr. Mier left his wonderful collection to Fermilab when he died a while ago. He organized his arrowheads in interesting patterns. They were in diamond shapes, square shapes, and circles. They were displayed in velvet cases. In all, his collection contained about 20 cases full of arrowheads and about ten of fossils. The arrowheads he collected provide proof of the Indian life here over 150 years ago.