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Indian Artifact Show set Saturday at Civic Center

Coming full circle in life has been good for Johnny Parkman. For the last 60 years he’s been busy with two things – hunting Indian artifacts and selling auto parts.

Currently, Parkman and the Magnolia State Archaeological Society are working on the society’s Brookhaven Indian Artifact Show coming up Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Lincoln Civic Center at 1096 Beltline Dr. NE.

Parkman said he is expecting about 70 vendors from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas for the show. Admission is free to the public.

PARKMAN

PARKMAN

Parkman is a former small business owner who has been collecting Indian artifacts since he was a child. His family owned Brookhaven Auto Parts from 1937 to 2012 when Parkman decided to retire. “Well, I’m retired from being the owner,” he says.

“Not many can say they’ve come full circle in life,” Parkman adds. He laughs like a man who is comfortable in his own skin – “I started work at the parts store at 12 years old. My daddy started the business in 1937, and I worked for him for many years, then when he died, I ran the business.

“A couple of years ago I sold the business, saying I was going to retire, but now I’m a sales clerk again and work under new owners.” And keeping working at the counter he’s been at for nearly 60 years seems just fine for Parkman.

The passion for Indian artifacts also has remained a constant in Parkman’s life. He says he is a history buff and has a large collection that shows his passion for local archeology and history. Parkman hunts for Indian arrowheads and other archeological finds in a process he called “surface hunting.”

“This area was rich with humanity because of the water source here,” he says. “Here, there were mostly Choctaw, Chickasaw, Natchez, Yazoo and Tunica.”

Parkman started hunting for artifacts when he was nine years old when he lived on a farm with an aunt and uncle. He was in the Boy Scouts and earned the “Order of the Arrow” patch for his ventures into the woods and out in the fields when the soil was being overturned.

“‘The Order of the Arrow’ was a special part of Boy Scouts. It was about Indian lore and some history,” he says, “and that inspired me.”

Today he still hunts for places where construction is going on or where dirt is being plowed or moved. Arrowheads come to the surface then.

After 60 years of collecting, hunting and finding, enjoys trading with other hunters like himself and now has a wide variety of items. Many of his fellow collectors will be on the trading floor of the Civic Center Saturday.

“These are collectors who do it for the love of history,” he says. “Like me, most of them have been doing it all of their lives. There won’t be any fakes there, that’s for sure, and people will be fascinated to find out about things from this area that are eight to ten thousand years old.”

Parkman is happy to pass along his interest in the artifacts. He says he is going to give every kid 10 and under who visits the show a free Indian arrowhead.