Friday, November 19, 1999
Group shares its Shawnee heritage
Tribe's descendants to relate stories
BY JENNY CALLISON
FAIRFIELD Descendants of warriors who fought with Tecumseh have stories to tell. They will be relating those stories and sharing their culture at a gathering today of the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band.
Today's program will include demonstrations of fire-making as well as bead and quill work, activities for children, cooking and tasting of traditional Shawnee foods and storytelling. Two tribe members, Neeake (Fred Shaw) and West Chester resident Ayapia (Larry Eveland) will relate animal tales essential to the Shawnee culture.
Part of my message includes "walk softly on the earth' issues, said Mr. Eveland. As a lead-in to that, I talk about my clothing and the transition from buckskin to cloth, and the making of moccasins.
Because of U.S. policies toward American Indians in the last century, many members of the Shawnee Tribe walked softly out of official consciousness.
The Remnant Band are the tribe's descendants. Their ancestors fought with the venerable Chief Tecumseh, said DarkRain Thom, a group member who lives in Bloomington, Ind.
Tecumseh died without signing a treaty with the United States, she said. Since we did not sign a treaty, we did not get any land from the government.
With no land, there was no official recognition or even a gathering spot for the Shawnee Remnant Band, and individuals dispersed throughout the United States and Canada.
Some years ago their chief decided to locate descendants of the warriors, and began advertising. As increasing numbers of people document ed their heritage and joined the group, the tribe began meeting for ceremonies and social gatherings.
We finally decided to purchase our own place back in the land our ancestors were removed from, said Ms. Thom, adding that the tribe began presenting programs to raise money to buy the land and develop a tribal center.
Within six years we purchased 121 acres near Ur bana, Ohio. After another six years we built a community house and installed electricity, developed a seed garden and stomp grounds, she said.
Although the Shawnee have accomplished their original goals in purchasing land, Ms. Thom said they continue their presentations to educate the public and to build better relationships and understanding with residents of this region.
At the presentation, the tribe will have historical, genealogical and cultural information to share.
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