Long before contact with Euro-Americans, Native Americans lived near baw-wa-ting, "the rapids." Some 2000 years ago Hopewellian Indians built numerous burial mounds in this area. This mound group became known as the Converse Mounds. As early as the 18th century Ottawa Indians lived near the rapids at a village called Noaquageshik. Ojibwa and Potawatomi also lived in this vicinity. The development of Grand Rapids during the late 19th century destroyed the burial mounds; however, archaelogical excavations in 1999 revealed occupations dating back more than 3000 years, as well as evidence of an 18th and 19th century Native American presence. In 2000 the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians worked with Grand Valley State University to establish this park on the site of their ancestors' village.