Learn about Native American history in Central Arkansas

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The Rock House Cave at Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton
The Rock House Cave at Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton

 

A wide range of Native American heritage can be found across the state including in Central Arkansas. 

At Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park  you can learn about Native American culture and the largest prehistoric mound complex in the state. Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park is located at 490 Toltec Mounds Road near Scott and is around 20 miles from Little Rock. The site was used as a ceremonial center for around four hundred years from 650 AD to 1050 AD. A focal of this site are the mounds that you can see here, including the tallest mound in Arkansas.

Toltec Mounds

The Historic Arkansas Museum, which is located at 200 East Third Street in Little Rock, is home to a well researched permanent exhibit about Native American life in Arkansas called “We Walk in Two Worlds” which shares the story of the Caddo, Osage and Quapaw Indian tribes in Arkansas. 

Little Rock is also home to the Sequoyah National Research Station, which can be found at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton holds the title of Arkansas’s first state park and plenty of inspiring views including  95-foot Cedar Falls, one of the tallest continuously flowing waterfalls in the state. The park is home to more than 20 miles of trails including the Rock House Cave Trail, which leads to a large rock shelter. Here you can see Native American rock art that was created hundreds of years ago. This trail also includes a chance to see the famous Turtle Rocks of the state park, which provide plenty of photo opportunities.

Rock House Cave Trail at Petit Jean

Many state parks in Arkansas help share Native American heritage. Included in this is the difficult story of the Trail of Tears. You can learn more about these parks in this detailed and well-researched write up on the five state parks that lie along these removal routes. 

Panels commemorating the Trail of Tears can be found at 120 Riverfront Park Drive on the north shore of the Arkansas River Trail in North Little Rock. Other markers commemorating this route can also be found across the state.

Trail of Tears Riverwalk sign

This is just a glimpse of the amount of Native American heritage found in this region and the state. For more information on Native American culture in Arkansas, a digital edition of the Native American Heritage in Arkansas guide is also available as a resource.