The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

January 6, 2011

Native American exhibit opens Saturday at local museum

PALESTINE — A new Native American exhibit will open at the Museum for East Texas Culture this weekend with a special preview and reception set for noon Saturday.

“My purpose for creating the first-ever Native American exhibit at the Museum for East Texas Culture is to introduce the citizens of East Texas, especially youth, to the original inhabitants of what is now Palestine and Anderson County,” exhibit creator Norris White Jr. said.

“My goal and objective is to help the youth visualize who our ancient native people were and what their day-to-day life was like. For my display, I’ve incorporated both historical and anthropological research methods in order to provide a vividly clear depiction about the inhabitants of East Texas, one thousand to four thousand years ago.

Included in the exhibit are arrowheads of various size, other Native American artifacts as well as three Caddo Indian vases dating back 1,500 to 2,000 years old from the private collection of the late Jonathan Paul Hodges of Oakwood.

White also received artifact donations from Chuck Cleveland, Matt Beckendorf and Hud and Sybil Hanson. The artifacts range from spear and arrow projectile points of all sizes to flakes from various flints as well as drill bits and sanding stones.

“All of these artifacts were originally discovered and collected from homesteads throughout Anderson County,” White said. “There will also be reproductions of Late Archaic era and Caddoan/Mississippian era stone projectile points, knives and tools that were recreated and fashioned by the skilled hands of flint knapper Jeremiah Arkel of Wilson County, North Carolina, now residing in Montalba.”

Individuals from The Sportsman’s Memory Shop and Taxidermy in Grapeland also contributed to the exhibit.

“Hopefully once the exhibit has opened, more artifacts will continue to be donated by the public,” White said. “What better place than the Museum for East Texas Culture to showcase the prehistory of East Texas. This will take a collective dedicated effort from the entire community, but I know we are capable of accomplishing great things as well as building a very interesting and educational source of Native American history and culture for our youth.”

White is currently enrolled in the graduate history program at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. He also is preparing his first historical book. The book will feature a variety of Native American and African American topics and themes which will openly challenge the reader to actively learn more about Texas archeology and history.

“From prehistoric times to the modern era, many people have made East Texas their home. Initially, the first people who lived throughout this region are regarded by anthropologists as hunter gatherers. Hunter gatherers lived in small groups and were nomadic, following the movement of wild game and the seasonal availability of fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc.,” White said. “Around 600 A.D., this region was settled by the Caddo Indians. The Caddo migrated into East Texas as a fully developed culture and society. They were agriculturalist, skilled artisans, traders, astronomers and mound builders.”

Museum director Dan Dyer said the new exhibit should be a draw to many people.

“I believe many people are going to enjoy coming to the museum to see the Native American exhibit, especially the youth,” Dyer said. “I appreciate all of the hard work, research and hours Norris has put in to put this exhibit together for our community.”

Admission to the museum during regular hours and during the special preview is $2 for adults and $1 for children under age 12.

The museum is located at 400 S. Micheaux Ave. behind Reagan Park. For more information, call the museum at 903-723-1914.


Text Only
Local Scene