12 Oct Celebrating Indigenous People’s Day
Happy Indigenous People’s Day! Today we celebrate and honor the Native American communities across the country, including those that once inhabited various Cincinnati Parks.
Before Europeans set foot in the Northwest Territory, the Indigenous People already called Ohio home. The Cincinnati Area was first occupied by prehistoric Adena & Hopewell Cultures. Later on, in the early 1720’s, the Shawnee tribe came into Southern Ohio and set up roots. In Alms Park at the overlook, the Shawnee tribe cleared the area and called it Bald Hill. It served as a lookout point to keep an eye on the Little Miami River Valley along where Lunken Airport is today.
In 1788, Major Benjamin Stites had started his community of Columbia located in that valley. The Shawnee kept close watch on these strange people settling their lands. Signs of Indigenous activity is found in many parks. Arrows, spear points and other artifacts have been found in parks such as California Woods, Ault Park, French Park, Caldwell Preserve, McFarlan Woods and others. A mound earthen work is also near California Woods.
Cincinnati Parks continues to offer programs for school children to teach the way of life of the Native American tribes that have called the Cincinnati Area home.
In addition to programming, you can find a famous Native American statue in Thornton Park, the smallest Cincinnati Park at 1/10th of an acre. A sculpture of an eastern Woodlands Native American was created in 1912 by the J.L. Mott Iron Works of New York. The statue acquired the name Tecumseh, after the Shawnee intertribal leader who led resistance against white expansion into our region.
Be sure to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day by visiting one of our beautiful Cincinnati Parks and see if you can find any artifacts!
Cover photo by: Cincinnati Refined
Article written by: Olivia Canada, Explore Nature! Naturalist