City plans to remove what's remaining of sacred mound

After calling it the "ugliest old hill in the world," the mayor of Oxford, Alabama, plans to remove what's remaining of a sacred mound that has been the subject of dispute.

Mayor Leon Smith, who says he is part Indian but doesn't know which tribe, says the city will remove about half of the mound and flatten it in order to make way for more development. "It’s going to be real pretty," Smith tells The New York Times.

Smith originally planned to use the mound as landfill for a Sam's Club. But controversy over the site -- which dates to around 1000 A.D. It's similar to other rock mounds in the Southeast and East -- stopped work last summer.

“You’re not going to hear much from me,” about that issue, Smith told the Times. “I’m done with Indian stuff.”

An archaeologist paid by the city said the site was not significant and was probably not the result of human activity, a conclusion disputed by other experts.

Get the Story:
When Scholarship and Tribal Heritage Face Off Against Commerce (The New York Times 3/14)

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