Creek Indian and WWII veteran Chief Rolling Thunder built Thunder Mountain Monument as a reminder to all who visit, the price that was paid by a race of people who were marked for genocide in the name of Manifest Destiny.
The Monument is built from a collage of cast-off items that would be described by non-Indians as junk and was collected in a radius of 50 miles of the Monument. The only material that was purchased during its construction was cement.
The work on the main Monument started in 1968 and continued for 7 years until 1975. The work on the other buildings would continue from 1975 until 1983 at which time there was an arson fire. The fire destroyed a 3 story Hostel and Indian School, 2 Cabins, a Workshop, a Visitor’s Center, a Bath House, and an underground Sweat Lodge. The main Monument, Round House, and Chicken Coup was all that were spared and are still standing today.
After the fire, Thunder’s wife left him and the Monument, taking with her their children. Alone and disheartened, Thunder took his life on January 5, 1989.
The inside of the Monument is not open to the public. And although most of the artwork is on the outside, many of these images will provide you with a sense of what is on the inside of the Monument – a place where a family once lived and thrived.
The exhibit runs from November 19 to December 12, 2019. You may learn more about Thunder Mountain by visiting the Thunder Mountain website at www.thundermountainmonument.com.