The loan of a 206-year-old peace pipe with significance to Ohio history and to the history of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, plus recent Native American Week programs are two products of a budding relationship between the Ohio Historical Society and members of American Indian cultures historically connected to Ohio.
Native American Week in Ohio 2013
In June, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Concurrent Resolution 26 (HCR 26), which would designate the last week of September as Native American Week in Ohio.
“While the Ohio Senate has not yet voted on this resolution, the Ohio Historical Society took the opportunity this year to go forward with the first of what we hope will be many annual celebrations of American Indian culture in Ohio,” says Sharon Dean, director of Museum and Library Services for the society. “It offers the opportunity to organize a series of presentations and activities that can help build true awareness of the American Indian tribes who lived in Ohio until their removal by the mid-19th century.”
Presentations Highlight American Indian Cultures
Historically Connected to Ohio
On Saturday, Sept. 28, and Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, the society brought in seven tribal representatives to offer presentations around the state on some of the many American Indian cultures that are historically connected to Ohio.
Sunwatch Indian Village near Dayton hosted George Ironstrack of the Miami tribe, who gave a talk about Miami culture. Schoenbrunn Village of New Philadelphia and Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in nearby Dennison, Ohio, hosted Jeremy Turner of the Shawnee and Wyandotte tribes and Levi Randall of the Delaware tribe, who made a presentation on the history of the Delaware and also demonstrated some of their social dances.
Adena Mansion and Gardens Historic Site hosted Paul Barton and Jason White Eagle, who gave a talk on their Seneca-Cayuga tribe. Richard Zane Smith, of Wyandotte heritage, gave a presentation on Wyandotte culture at the Ohio History Center in Columbus. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Fort Recovery, visitors heard a talk about Wyandotte and Seneca-Cayuga cultures by Richard Zane Smith, joined by Paul Barton, Jason White Eagle and Jeremy Turner.
“All in all, we had really great attendance around the state, especially for doing these programs on such short notice,” Dean says. “If you missed this year’s events, don’t worry — the Ohio Historical Society and its site partners host many great programs around the state throughout the year, and we’re already hard at work on plans for next year’s Native American Week events, where we hope to include even more sites and more tribal representatives,” she says.
“Our thanks go to the tribal participants, the visitors who attended and our site partners for hosting these programs and promoting them. A special thanks goes to Chief Glenna Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee tribe, who graciously allowed us to use part of an interview with her to help promote the events.”
Click here to see Chief Glenna Wallace talk about what Ohio means to her and other members of the Eastern Shawnee.
Society Loans Tecumseh Peace Pipe Tomahawk
Sharing of artifacts is one outcome of a growing relationship between the Ohio Historical Society and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma led by Chief Glenna Wallace. An American Indian pipe with deep significance to early Ohio history and to members of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe will go on display in Oklahoma starting in December.
The Ohio Historical Society will loan the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma a ceremonial peace pipe tomahawk that Shawnee leader Tecumseh presented to early Ohio statesman Thomas Worthington in 1807.
The pipe will be on exhibit at the Indigo Sky Hotel and Casino in Wyandotte, Okla., for one year starting Dec. 6, 2013. The casino is owned and operated by the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, whose members are lineal descendants of the Shawnees who lived in a region that included Ohio before being relocated to the west in 1831.
Tecumseh presented the peace pipe tomahawk when he visited Worthington at Adena, his Chillicothe home, in 1807. It’s made of forged metal and the wooden handle is decorated with engraved silver inlay.
“The Shawnee leader Tecumseh has forever been the role model Shawnees have desired to emulate,” says Chief Glenna Wallace.
“A spirited and principled individual, communicator extraordinaire filled with vision and willing to fight, even give his life for that vision, he always placed his people at the forefront. To visit our former Ohio homelands, to walk in his footsteps, to commune with his spirit, to stand on the grounds he trod, to see his personal objects such as his pipe is a dream of the Shawnee people.
“To have that pipe brought here to our Oklahoma homelands exceeds any dream imagined. And to have it returned to Tecumseh's seventh generation adds to the spiritual significance of this pipe. We are truly honored the Ohio Historical Society has chosen to share this cultural treasure with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.”
Tecumseh (1768–1813) was a well-respected Shawnee leader who established his reputation during the Indian Wars of the late 18th century, when he fought in several minor skirmishes and in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. He refused to sign the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, fearing that it would increase settlement and eventually cost American Indians their land. He argued that all American Indians held land in common and therefore one tribe could not cede the land to the U.S. government. During the War of 1812, Tecumseh supported the British, in hopes of regaining lost land. He was killed during the Battle of the Thames in 1813.
Worthington (1773–1827) was a native of Charles Town, Virginia (later West Virginia), who moved to the Northwest Territory in 1798 and settled in Ross County, Ohio, where he quickly became a leader in the Ohio statehood movement. He was a strong opponent of Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair, who wished to delay Ohio’s entrance into the Union. Worthington emerged as a principal figure in the 1802 Constitutional Convention and spent much time in Washington, D.C., lobbying for statehood. Politically active throughout his life, Worthington served as one of the first two U.S. senators from Ohio as well as the sixth governor of the state. Later he served several terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. Worthington’s Chillicothe home is now open to the public as Adena Mansion and Gardens Historic Site.