Representatives of Native American nations and re-enactors of the white men of the period circled The Bowery in the opening ceremony of the Peace and Friendship Summit (Bob Robinson photo)
GREENVILLE – “In the 1990’s we had five pow-wows in this field,” said State Representative Jim Buchy. Pointing to the array of 250-year-old oak trees, he added “I remember at one of them, a chief had a tear in his eye… he was thinking ‘my ancestors probably stood under this tree.’”
Buchy was speaking to a large crowd surrounding The Bowery, built for the Bi-Centennial Anniversary of the Second Treaty of Greenville… The Peace and Friendship Summit held July 26. The Bowery was about 100 yards east of the Anthony Wayne Peace Council House next to Garst Museum. Across the road, the Garst Gathering was getting into full swing for the weekend.
Buchy told about his great grandfather owning the land in 1878. He owned a meat packing plant and, a generation later as a young boy, Buchy was often in the field running down cows. “Today,” he added, “the big charge is to teach our history.”
He thanked local historian Susan Gray for her lifetime spent working to preserve the heritage between today’s population and Native Americans. Gray said The Bowery is here for the public to use.
“We give it to the Parks District to take care of,” Gray said… then added “I’ll be watching.”
Darke County Parks District President Steve Shaltry told Gray her contribution has been invaluable. “We must learn from the past to have a better future,” he added.
The opening ceremony of the Peace and Friendship Summit included the placing of flags around The Bowery, native prayers and praise. There were proclamations from House Speaker John Boehner’s office, State Senator Bill Beagle on behalf of Gov. John Kasich and Senator Keith Faber, Representatives Buchy and Richard Adams, Greenville Mayor Mike Bowers and Commissioner Diane Delaplane.
Wampum Belts were presented to representatives of Native American nations: Chief Ben Barnes and Roy Baldridge, Shawnee Nation, Oklahoma; Chief Councillor Deborah Pegahmagabow, Elders-Arthur and Roland; Pegahmagabow, Stewart King, Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, Canada; George Henry-Muncie Lenape, Ontario, Canada; Maurice Switzer, Director-Anishinabeck First Nation, Ontario, Canada; and Chief Snow Owl, East of the River Shawnee; also to Treaty of GreeneVille Bicentennial Commission and Darke County Park District.
Gray explained the importance and symbolism of the Wampum Belt, noting the white background represents peace, the dark hand the Native American, the light hand the white man and the purple in the center… the Native representation of the heart.
Gray explained the Treaty did not take lands from the Native Americans… it made them citizens of the United States, to be treated and protected in the same manner as all citizens. “Somehow that got lost,” she added. “General Wayne said the Peace and Friendship should be held here. It is unstained by blood… no battles have been fought here.”
Chief Barnes had a message for those assembled. Noting the white man’s interest in history and re-enactments, he said “Don’t take our religious ceremonies… we respect your institutions. Respect ours.” He declined further comment after the ceremony except to add “It’s about being ordained.” He noted he couldn’t be a Rabbi, for instance. The same holds true for their religious institution.
Gray, an East of the River Shawnee, agreed with the chief of the Shawnee Nation, Oklahoma, noting however “They need to respect ours. It works both ways.” Then she laughed and commented the Shawnee have always had trouble getting along.
State Rep. Jim Buchy was the opening speaker at the recently completed Bowery and opening of the Peace and Friendship Summit (Bob Robinson photo)
Pegahmagabow, Stewart King, Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, Canada, holds a Wampum Belt for the camera. He referred to its receipt as an emotional experience. (Bob Robinson photo)