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Great Council State Park: Bridging Past and Present in Greene County

Great Council State Park welcome center modeled after a Shawnee Longhouse in Greene County Ohio

Ohio celebrates the Shawnee history with grand opening of new state park.

Great Council State Park

On June 7, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), accompanied by Governor Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, will celebrate the grand opening of Great Council State Park in Greene County

“We wanted to do something extraordinary to tell this chapter of Ohio’s history,”-ODNR Director Mary Mertz

The park is located in what was once Old Chillicothe, a vibrant Shawnee town founded in the 1770s and the first capital of the Northwest Territory. This historical significance is a testament to the park’s dedication to celebrating and preserving the state’s rich natural and cultural heritage.

Collaboration with the Shawnee Tribes

Committed to historical accuracy and cultural sensitivity, ODNR collaborates with three federally recognized Shawnee tribes. The Shawnee Tribe, Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, and Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma are integral to developing Great Council Park. This partnership ensures the park authentically reflects the Shawnee’s traditions, history, and ongoing story. Thus offering a respectful interpretation of their legacy.

Exploring Shawnee and Frontier Heritage at Great Council State Park

Great Council State Park boasts a 12,000-square-foot interpretive center, modeled after a Shawnee longhouse—the tribal community hub. This modern facility features a living stream, 1770s-era exhibits of Shawnee and settler life, and a theater for dynamic presentations. It serves as an educational space where the intertwined stories of Ohio’s natural resources and its people come to life through engaging, immersive experiences.

Educational and Recreational Opportunities

The park provides a variety of educational and recreational opportunities for visitors. These include a half-mile loop trail through a newly established native prairie. Guided tours are available, and special events to educate the public about Shawnee culture and history. Each park feature, from exhibits to trails, is designed to deepen understanding of Shawnee history. Additionally, these elements celebrate their crucial role in Ohio’s heritage.

A Legacy of Preservation and Education

Great Council State Park is a living museum demonstrating Ohio’s dedication to preserving and interpreting its cultural heritage. Through its thoughtful design and ongoing partnership with the Shawnee tribes, the park is a vital educational resource. It fosters a more profound respect and understanding for the Shawnee people and their contributions to Ohio’s history. As it opens its doors, the park invites visitors to explore, learn, and reflect on the enduring legacy of Ohio’s Native Peoples.

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