Ohio's Indigenous People Struggle Against Anonymity

November 6, 2006

Author: Stephanie Woodard

Source: Indian Country


Barbara Crandell, Cherokee, and Helen Griffin, Shawnee, spoke to Indian Country Today during Newark Earthworks Day, sponsored by Ohio State University's Newark Earthworks Center. The October event brought together Native and non-Native experts to speak on 2,000-year-old mounds and earthen-walled enclosures constructed by ancient indigenous people of the region.

Crandell and Griffin are members of the Native American Alliance of Ohio, a consortium of Eastern Woodland Indians founded in 1992 to increase public awareness of indigenous people in Ohio and to preserve mounds and other sacred sites.

Indian Country Today: What are the central issues for Ohio's indigenous people?

Barbara Crandell: This state has no federally recognized tribes, so Native people here have no laws or power to count on. All we have is reason, which we use to point out the advantages of not destroying sacred sites and burial grounds. However, our politicians, like all politicians, go out of their way to expend energy to do nothing. We must have a commission of Native people, selected by Native people, so if a problem arises, like construction that would disturb a sacred site or burial, we can negotiate with the state.