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Ohio's 76th state park signals more collaboration with Shawnee tribe

 Temporary roadside sign at the location of Great Council State Park
Chris Welter
Temporary roadside sign at the location of Great Council State Park

A new state park is coming to southwest Ohio. Great Council State Park will be located between Xenia and Yellow Springs at the site of a former Shawnee settlement called Oldtown.

The park will feature a $10 million interpretive center designed in the traditional council house form used by Shawnee tribes. It's expected to open in 2023.

Glenna J. Wallace, chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, was at the park’s groundbreaking last week and has been involved in the center’s planning process.

"It's a combination of the past, the present and the future. I think it's an excellent concept,” Wallace said. “I think that we want to tell our stories, but we also want to correct some incorrect stories that have been told and that people might think about today."

The interpretive center at Great Council State Park is planned to be three stories tall, with one floor dedicated to modern stories of the Shawnee.

"Too many people think that when we left Ohio, we disappeared from the surface of the United States. That's simply not so. We are strong tribes today,” she said. “We have our challenges, we have our successes and we work hard at maintaining our culture, working for our people, and making them proud of being Shawnee.”

The center will also tell the stories of people from other Ohio Valley tribes and settlers like Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton.
Copyright 2022 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

Chris Welter is an Environmental Reporter at WYSO through Report for America. In 2017, he completed the radio training program at WYSO's Eichelberger Center for Community Voices. Prior to joining the team at WYSO, he did boots-on-the-ground conservation work and policy research on land-use issues in southwest Ohio as a Miller Fellow with the Tecumseh Land Trust.