GREENVILLE - A ceremony to commemorate the opening of a bowery near the Darke County Parks’ Council House was held Friday during the Bicentennial Commission’s Peace and Friendship Summit, bringing together officials from Ohio and representatives of Native American Tribes to celebrate 200 years of peace, brought about by the second Treaty of GreeneVille, held July 22, 1814.
Representative Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) emceed the event, reminiscing about his childhood on the very land where the bowery now stands, herding cattle up to his grandfather’s meat-packing company; but he also looked back to what had happened on that land 200 years ago, when the treaty was signed.
“Darke County is blessed with tremendous leaders [in preserving history], that’s why we have such a successful community,” Buchy noted. “…The history they have for us, you have to soak it up. We’re here to teach our history to our future generations. And we have the whole county’s support in preserving our heritage.”
The leadership Buchy speaks of includes Susan Gray, and the Garst Museum, but also the legislators who supported the Capital Budget funding for the bowery that will be available for public use well into the future, Buchy commented. Susan Gray spent a large portion of her life on this project, about 40 years’ worth of research and effort, she shared as she presented the bowery to the Darke County Parks District.
The bowery will be open to the public to use for picnics and educational purposes, Gray said.
A proclamation from Governor John Kasich was read by Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), and a commendation was extended from the House of Representatives by Representative Richard Adams (R-Troy); U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner sent his regards via Tristan Weiss, and Diane Delaplane, Darke County commissioner, thanked the Bicentennial Commission for their efforts in preserving “history we need to continue to remember,” as Darke County continues to realize the “importance of our heritage, taking care of the land, and passing on our traditions,” she said.
Ben Barnes of the Shawnee Tribe, spoke on the importance of allowing federally-recognized tribes present their ceremonies without having a mockery made of them by others, and he explained the importance of the wampum belt gift that he and others had been presented during the ceremony on Friday.
“A wampum belt is a promise,” Barnes began. “When presented, it’s a solemn promise and remembrance of mutual respect and honor; it’s a promise to hold each other up and to protect each other. We ask in friendship that you respect us as well…the wind of respect blows in all directions.”
The bowery, Gray explained, is a place of peace, where no blood was shed, just as 200 years ago when General “Mad” Anthony Wayne “cleared the roads of all brush and debris…” to lead the way to the signing of a treaty that would lead to peace.