Peace Pipe to be on display at Shawnee Prairie

The new Tecumseh Room is nearing completion. Shown is Mila Hamilton working on the mural that will provide a backdrop for the displays in the room.

GREENVILLE – “There were only three of these presented,” Deb Shiverdecker, assistant director of Darke County Parks said. She was holding the Silver Peace Pipe presented to the Shawanee Indian Tribe by General William Henry Harrison in 1814. The pipe will be on display in the Tecumseh Room at the Shawnee Prairie Preserve Nature Center beginning July 24, until September when it will be returned to its owner, the Kansas City Museum.

Parks Director Roger Van Frank noted “That peace pipe was here (emphasis on here) 200 years ago, almost to the date. It was July 22, 1814.” He added “It was smoked and presented (to the Indians).” The other two pipes were presented to the Wyandot and Seneca tribes.

Shiverdecker said The Tecumseh Room is nearing completion, with Sidney artist Mila Hamilton, Expressions by Mila, currently finishing a scenic mural. In addition to the display of the Peace Pipe, the room will include a hands-on display of Native American life in this area. “For the first time, some of the Park District’s artifacts will also be on display… George Washington Peace Medals (from the First Treaty of Greene Ville); and we’ll have a Kinzie Brooch.” She said it was a trading item with the Indians and Kinzie was a noted metal worker of the time.

“It was discovered when they were doing the foundation work for the Nature Center,” she said. “We know it is original… his initials are on it.”

The grand opening of The Bowery will take place July 25 at 11 a.m., followed by an Honoring Ceremony, at Prairie Ridge Meadow Park. Wampum Belts will be given to the tribal representatives present, plus dignitaries. Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, along with other state and local representatives, have been invited. Beginning at 2 p.m. there will be native re-enactors, demonstrations, native games for children and vendors and food. The same afternoon events will take place on July 26.

While Darke County Parks volunteers and staff are preparing for the commemoration of The War of 1812 Peace and Friendship Second Treaty of Greenville Summit, Garst Museum volunteers and staff are preparing for the Garst Gathering July 26 and 27. The overlap wasn’t planned, but it has proven to be a positive for both organizations.

Garst Executive Director Clay Johnson said he and Van Frank were coordinating how it was going to work, noting they are, in reality, two separate events.

“What is going on Thursday and Friday will not involve the Gathering,” he said. “And some of the people (or events) taking place may not carry over here. However, we’re very fortunate. There will be a notable increase of top notch quality living history participants this year.”

He added the Park District has been extremely helpful in helping the Gathering improve and grow.

Darke County Parks Assistant Director Deb Shiverdecker holds the 200-year-old Silver Peace Pipe presented to the Shawanee Indian Tribe by General William Henry Harrison.

Volunteers work on the reproduction of The Bowery, which was used on July 19, 1814 by the Indians in a war dance, which continued the greater part of the day. The new Bowery will be dedicated July 25 at the opening of the Peace and Friendship Summit at Prairie Ridge Meadow Park.
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