Tribe Blesses Burial Ground in Danbury

May 29, 2008

Author: Kristina Smith Horn

Source: Port Clinton News Herald

As Chief Leaford Bearskin stood on a Native American burial ground Wednesday, he and his tribe felt a strong connection with the ancient people interred below him.

Bearskin, head of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, asked the Great Spirit to bless the land, the spirits of the dead buried there and those who attended the ceremony at the Cove on the Bay housing subdivision on the Sandusky Bay.

He held up a pipe emitting smoke from a burning mixture of tobacco, cedar and sweet grass -- materials sacred to Native Americans -- as he spoke. He believes the remains and artifacts on the site that are 500 to 5,0000 years old came from ancient Wyandottes, a tribe that lived in Ohio until the U.S. government took its land and forced its people to move west in the mid-1800s.

"It's a momentous occasion for us," said Billy Friend, Wyandotte Nation second chief. "It's a very sacred place. We wanted to preserve that."

The Wyandottes bought three lots in the subdivision from developer Greg Spatz earlier this year to ensure no one would develop or excavate that portion of the burial ground. This comes five years after construction workers first unearthed the bones and fragments of pottery while turning the farmland into a housing development.