Centuries before Europeans arrived, large parts of North America had cities of thousands of people living in finely built houses, palaces, temples and wide public plazas. There were road systems connecting cities across hundreds of miles. There were kings and councils, architects and astronomers and great artists.
About 1200 years ago, the Mississippian society began and took root with a shared religion which focused on 3 tiers of life. Above, on earth and below.
Mounds were built for religious, ceremonial, burial, and elite residential purposes. These mound builders were organized; hundreds or even thousands of workers had to dig up tons of earth with the hand tools available, the soil had to be moved long distances, and finally, workers had to create the shape the builder had planned.
Often religious and art objects were buried with the dead:
Recently, while reading on the subject, I discovered that there is such a mound in Scarborough not far from where I grew up. I had to explore it.
Here are views of the mound and from the mound framed by an Iroquois prayer which is on a stone tablet erected in 1961 at the top of the hill.
Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me.
I am a man before You, one of Your many children.
I am small and weak, I need Your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunsets.
Make my hands respects the things You have made, my ears sharp to hear Your voice.
Make me wise so that I may know the things You have taught my people, the lessons You have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, O Creator, not to be superior to my brothers, but be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me ever ready to come to You with clean hands and straight eye, so that when life fades as the setting sunset, my spirit may come to You without shame.