Celebrating Native American Heritage at Great Parks of Hamilton County

As the largest landowner in Hamilton County, Great Parks of Hamilton County has the privilege to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources under our stewardship. This is particularly important for us to remember during Native American Heritage Month in November.

Of course, you already know of our bountiful natural beauty: the forests, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. However, you may be less familiar with the cultural resources of our big lands. Our parks sit on the ancestral homeland of over 50 historic American Indian nations and bands, including the Myaamia (Miami), Shawnee, and Lenape (Delaware).

Great Parks of Hamilton County is also home to two archaeological areas on the National Register of Historic Places: Shawnee Lookout, which is an archaeological district, and the Perin Village, which is an archaeological site located almost entirely within the lands of the Little Miami Golf Center. Shawnee Lookout has been continuously inhabited for about 10,000 years and is home to some of the largest ancient earthworks in all of Ohio, totaling over 5 miles in combined length.

If you would like to learn more about the tribes that call this area home, take a look at these amazing institutions and organizations.

Myaamia Center at Miami University

Myaamia Center

The Myaamia Center at Miami University is an academic research and cultural revitalization center affiliated with both the university and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. The center’s mission is to “serve the needs of the Myaamia people, Miami University, and partner communities through research, education, and outreach that promote Myaamia language, culture, knowledge, and values.”

Urban Native Collective

The Cincinnati-based Urban Native Collective is an organization that exists to “preserve and represent Native and Indigenous people through education, advocacy, and support.”

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma

The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma is the official governing body of the Miami Tribe, the people of which were forcibly removed off of land in Ohio and other Great Lakes states in the 19th century. The mission of the Miami Nation is to “continue to exercise our sovereignty, to preserve and promote our cultural identity, and our social and governmental integrity, in order to strengthen our self-determination and economic independence.”

Shawnee Tribes

There are three federally-recognized Shawnee Tribes, all located in Oklahoma: The Eastern Shawnee Tribe, the (Loyal) Shawnee Tribe, and the  Absentee Shawnee Tribe. There is also one state-recognized Shawnee Tribe – the Piqua Shawnee Tribe in Alabama. The people of these tribes were also forcibly removed from Ohio’s land.

Delaware Tribe of Indians

The Delaware, or the Lenape, currently reside in Oklahoma and Kansas. The Delaware Tribe of Indians say that, “In the Lenape language, which belongs to the Algonquian language family, we call ourselves LENAPE (len-NAH-pay) which means something like ‘The People.’”

 Many Indigenous cultural groups called this land home before Europeans arrived on the eastern shores of North America in the 16th century. And many still call this land home. There are plenty of folks in Southwest Ohio who have affiliations with Native nations and/or are active members of their respective Indigenous communities.