Scouts explore Indian culture

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2000

As the drum thumps and various melodies play, the council fire fills the air with smoke.

Thursday, June 22, 2000

As the drum thumps and various melodies play, the council fire fills the air with smoke. Sounds of Native American language fill the air as the Shawnee thrive in their land rich with heritage near the Scioto River.

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A trip back in time? No, soon it will be just another weekend at Boy Scout Camp Oyo.

Dr. David Lucas, a professor at Ohio University Southern Campus, has been working for more than a year on researching the Shawnee Native Americans who once made their home throughout the Tri-State.

He is also scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 106 in Ironton.

After setting up the plans, Lucas then called on his troop and other Scout volunteers to make the working, life-like Shawnee village near Boy Scout Camp Oyo in the Portsmouth.

This project began when the decision was made that the ancients should revisit the land in the Ohio River Valley, Lucas said.

The Scouts will dedicate and consecrate the new Shawnee village Friday. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. for invited guests only. The public will be invited to see the new village on Saturday afternoons soon. Dates and times have not yet been set.

"We have gone to extra lengths to consult with many Shawnee still living in Ohio," Lucas said. "We are especially grateful to the United Remnant Band of Shawnee in Urbana and Bellefontaine, Ohio. They have been most helpful in our attempt at recreating life of the Natives in the 1800s. This village is like walking back in time 200 years. You have to see it to believe it."

Boy Scouts will enjoy visiting this authentically recreated village filled with original and replicated artifacts in addition to earning a Native American folklore merit badge if they participate in the village activities, Lucas said.

Scouts visiting the replication can expect to see a village complete with a long house, council fire, a Shawnee cooking area, a vegetable garden and Native American tribal members. Visitors will find characters in costume. The village was part of a BSA summer camp program project.

"The ‘New Shawnee’ is what we call the group that lives here in this village this summer," Lucas said. "We have named the place ‘Our Village.’ We have participants who have Native American blood. We have all worked very hard and with deep commitment to bring back the dignity, honor and respect for this noble people we call the Shawnee."