You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Native American village on display in Clark County

George Rogers Clark Park event offers a look beyond battles.


George Rogers Clark Park is named for a warrior.

It’s located on land adjacent to where a battle fought between American pioneers and Native Americans during the American Revolution.

But from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, the park’s focus will not be on the “Clash of Cultures” highlighted in the display at the park’s Davidson Interpretive Center.

Instead, the Clark County Park District’s Fireside History Chat series will move outdoors past the Hertzler House and historic barn at the park’s edge to a series of Native American structures.

There, with campfires glowing and with the help of guides and 10 or more historic re-enactors, visitors can get a look at the structure of Native Americans’ lives in the way Amy Henry does — as people who had much in common with settlers and people who lived in peace.

“I’ve been involved in Native American re-enacting for about 18, 19 years,” said Henry, who works on the physical plant staff at Wittenberg University.

While her son, now 27, was honing his re-enacting skills as a pioneer, “I was always with the Native American contingent,” she said. “I tired to do the other side once or twice, but it never felt right.”

Nor, in her early days volunteering at the Fair at New Boston, also held at the park, did the focus on the warrior culture and violent aspects of Native American life appeal to her.

As a result, when she was invited to take a leadership role, “I wanted to change the emphasis … to show that (Native American) men and women were interested in having food and shelter” and a life that usually didn’t involve “going to war every other day.”

Bill Smith, a re-enactor and retired history teacher who arranges programs at the park, said it offers “a different kind of twist” and a healthy one.

“For so many of us growing up, it was cowboys and Indians,” he said.

Henry said that in the course of re-enacting, “I had dragged around different shelters to different events. So when we started this project, I got the OK to start setting up some permanent structures.”

She’s had plenty of help, from the Parks District, the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association and particularly from volunteers Justin Houston, Cindy Jackson and Gary Bayard.

“We all came from different parts of the re-enacting world,” Henry said.

In like fashion, the structures on display at the Native American village are from different locales in the Eastern United States.

The newest and most prominent structure, the Council House, is a long house, “which is more (associated) with Upstate New York and down the East Coast,” said Henry. “But it was one we could get the materials to build.”

That’s a real consideration in a world in which stripping the bark of trees, as American Indians did, is frowned upon.

Closer to home for the park are the series of wigwams, “the tradition Shawnee structure of the Ohio Valley,” Henry explained.

Although many will want to call the bark-and-pole structures on the site tepees, they go under the more generic name “conicals,” which Henry explained are “a structure from the Great Lakes tribes that are easily set up.”

So are the fish drying racks, and the new lean-to, a space in which women of the village to work and talk.

“The women were the farmers, which everybody gets tired of hearing,” Henry said.

They did their farming without the help of horse power and did it well enough that when George Rogers Clark destroyed the Village of Peckuwe at the battle site, it had 800 acres of corn, beans and squash on hand.

The village includes a pair of posts with veed tops from which a baby hammock would have hung, and what Henry with a smile calls her Monongahela Crockpot. It’s a stone pit in which fires are built, the burned wood removed, and the heat absorbed by the rocks used to cook food.

Henry, who is used to maintenance work at Wittenberg, needs those skills working in the village.

“Last year, I spent half the winter hauling locust logs up from Sidney” to salvage the log cabin on the site.

“I completely tore it apart and rebuilt it,” she said, using locust for two reasons: one, she got it free; two, it’s a wood that will last.

The structures aren’t 100 percent true to their historical counterparts. But the modern conveniences and materials, largely hidden, are necessary to keep the buildings from have to be constantly rebuilt.

Still, as their skills have grown, volunteers have done their best to approximate what Native Americans used.

“A lot of what we (build) comes from earlier pictures,” Henry explained, some of which will be on display Oct. 8.

Although those who attended the Fair at New Boston this year may have walked by the village, “we hope this is a big introduction” to it as “a really neat feature of the park,” said Smith.

That’s Henry’s hope, too.

“This is a passion,” she said. “We spend a lot of volunteer hours out there, and we’d like people to really understand what we’re doing” — and what Native Americans were doing more than 200 years ago.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Clark County mom faces new charges in death of baby son
Clark County mom faces new charges in death of baby son

New charges have been filed against a Clark County mother in connection with the death of her newborn baby. Shania Delawder, 19, was charged Sunday with involuntary manslaughter, according to Clark County Municipal Court records. The baby, Liam Lee Spencer, died Oct. 6 after he was found unresponsive in a room at the Drake Motel, 3200 E. National Road...
Child injured in National Road crash
Child injured in National Road crash

A three-year-old child, who was a passenger in a car accident, was transported by CareFlight to Children’s Hospital with a head injury on Tuesday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. The driver of the car lost control while traveling on National Road near Redmond Road in Springfield. The car reportedly left the right side of the road and flipped before...
Lone tiger shark surprises scientists with pups
Lone tiger shark surprises scientists with pups

A zebra shark surprised researchers in Australia when she hatched a trio of eggs three years after she was last paired with a mating partner, according to a study published Monday in Scientific Reports. Leonie the shark was separated from her partner in 2013, but in April 2016 managed to hatch the eggs. It is the first known time that a shark has switched...
Obama pardons Huber Heights man
Obama pardons Huber Heights man

President Barack Obama on Tuesday granted commutation of sentence to 209 individuals and pardons to 64 individuals. Obama granted a pardon to a Huber Heights person, LeAnton Sheldon Hopewell, Sr. Hopewell’s offense was aiding and abetting theft from interstate shipment. Hopewell was sentenced to three years probation. Hopewell tried to have...
Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info
Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info

A new phishing scam is allowing hackers to gain access to unsuspecting Gmail users' accounts and target their login credentials, according to recent reports. Mark Maunder, CEO of security service Wordfence, described the scam in detail in a blog post, adding that it is also targeting other services beyond Gmail. Tech Times reported that the scam involves...
More Stories