Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Point neighbors get help in protecting American Indian mound

They once lugged buckets of water across the street, chased kids away and tossed sand, all to protect a bit of history. Now some Pinellas Point residents have finally gotten some additional help preserving their neighborhood's 1,000-year-old American Indian burial and temple mound.

"It's been five years since they first started listening," said Vicki Imbach, who has lived across the street from the mound for more than 30 years. "One voice doesn't get heard."

Imbach and other neighbors have already put in a lot of work. In the fall of 2007, a group that included Imbach and Ray Wunderlich spent 12 hours a day for two days building a fence around the mound. Imbach admitted riding a bike on it as a kid, but now chases bikers away to preserve it. She remembered lugging reclaimed water from her back yard and watching men throw sand to keep the mound from washing away.

County money will go toward stopping that erosion and replacing signs, among other things, said St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation assistant director Phil Whitehouse. He said about $150,000 from the Penny for Pinellas tax has been earmarked for the project, which started last month with tree removal.

Imbach said the removal of Australian pines will help the erosion problem "immensely." She said the pines cause erosion by taking away sunlight from the mound. The pines are one of eight "invasive exotic plants" that are to be removed.

Wunderlich, who first discussed the mound with the neighborhood association three years ago, researched the plants.

"Natives used plants to survive," Wunderlich said. Women used the sabal palm to weave ropes and baskets.

The historical significance of the mound has attracted attention from Indians. George Garcia, security director for the American Indian Movement's Florida chapter, said the circumference and size of the mound tells him it was used as a burial ground, temple or place of worship.

"To us, it's sacred, it's our ancestors," said Garcia, whose heritage is Comanche. "It's their resting place."

Garcia said he hopes to educate people and provide a "blueprint" for other cities to prevent digging.

"It's no different than a cemetery, you don't want your ancestors dug up for jewelry."

State archaeologist Jeff Moates, who assisted the city and neighborhood association with the mound, said mostly shell tools were found. He added that the Tocobaga tribe likely inhabited the mound 1,000 years ago before the Spaniards arrived.

"When a specific chief or high political figure dies, a lot of times they are buried on the same surface they lived on," he said. The Tocobagas burned everything on the mound then added sand so that the new leader would live on sterile ground.

Imbach was happy to learn more about the history of the mound she sees every morning. She said that in the 1920s, residents would dig up mounds to fill the roads. Imbach hopes that all the progress the neighbors have made on the mound is preserved.

"If I protect the mound, the hurricane gods will protect me."

Pinellas Point neighbors get help in protecting American Indian mound 01/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs talk social issues, protests at team meeting

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Each time Dirk Koetter walks through the door of his office at One Buc Place, he passes by the only jersey framed on his wall.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) wears custom cleats to represent Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL???‚??„?s "My Cause, My Cleats Campaign" before the start of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.
  2. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  3. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want

    Local

    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]