NEWARK, OH – The Ohio Supreme Court announced a decision in State ex rel. Ohio History Connection v. Moundbuilders Country Club Co. in favor of the Ohio History Connection (OHC). The OHC can now move forward to acquire the Octagon Earthworks lease from the Moundbuilders County Club, thereby granting full public access to the historical and ancestral site of the Shawnee Tribal Nations.
“This has been going on for over a decade; it was a generational effort,” said Ben Barnes, Chief of the Shawnee Tribe. “The efforts of Burt Logan and Eastern Shawnee Chief Glenna Wallace, in collaboration with the Ohio History Connection, have brought the Newark Earthworks closer to tribal nations and the Ohio public.”
As part of the Newark Earthworks, the Octagon Earthworks are a National Historic Landmark. The Octagon Earthworks site is located at North 33rd Street and Parkview Road on the west side of Newark, in Licking County, Ohio.
“(The decision) recognizes the incredible accomplishments of American Indian ancestors in Ohio,” said Megan Wood, OHC Executive Director & CEO. “Our guiding principles through this process have been to enable full public access to the Octagon Earthworks while ensuring Moundbuilders Country Club receives just compensation for the value of the lease.”
A jury trial is set to determine the value of the lease. The Octagon Earthworks is among a series of sites currently being considered for UNESCO World Heritage status.
“This is huge. This is a win for Native people and the general public,” said Stacey Halfmoon, Executive Director of Shawnee Tribe’s Culture & Historic Preservation. “We are thankful for all the work done by the Ohio History Connection and all the tribal nations involved. The Newark Earthworks and its sister sites deserve to have their stories told and protected for future generations.”
The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the decisions by Ohio’s lower courts - - the Fifth District Court of Appeals and Licking County Common Pleas Court.
READ the Ohio Supreme Court Opinion.
WATCH OHC Executive Director & CEO’s announcement.
EXPLORE the OHC website.
About the Shawnee Tribe --
The Shawnee Tribe is a sovereign nation of more than 3,700 citizens living across North America and abroad. Tribal headquarters are located in Miami, Oklahoma, and Shawnee Chief Benjamin J. Barnes was elected in 2019. For more information, visit shawnee-nsn.gov.