November News from the Indiana Historical Bureau

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American Indian Marker Dedicated

The state historical marker commemorating Potawatomi village leader, Stephen Benack, and his village, which remained after the forced removal of Native Americans from Indiana, was dedicated on October 8 at Potawatomi Wildlife Park near Tippecanoe in Marshall County, Indiana.  The marker reads:
Benack’s Village
Osheakkebe, also known as Stephen Benack, was an ogimaa (leader) whose village was near here, 1834-1848. Born circa 1780 of Potawatomi and French-Canadian heritage, Benack resisted United States’ taking of lands long inhabited by Indians and sided with Great Britain in War of 1812. He and allied Indian leaders signed 1815 peace treaty at Spring Wells near Detroit. Indian leaders traded tribal lands in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin to U.S., 1817-1832, for annuities, reserves, and land rights. By treaty, Benack secured 2000 acres of land including his village, which remained despite U.S. forced removal of Indians from Indiana in 1830s and 1840s. Benack died in 1855 and was buried at the University of Notre Dame.
W. Ben Secunda, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Project Manager for the University of Michigan, gave a presentation on Stephen Benack and the history of the Potawatomi in the area that became northern Indiana and southern Michigan.
November is Native American Heritage Month.   Visit the American Indian Center of Indiana for events being held throughout the state and learn more about the annual national commemoration of our rich American Indian culture. 

Marion Branch, NHDVS dedicated

On October 6, the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Veterans' Administration Northern Indiana Health Care System dedicated a new historical marker commemorating the Marion Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.  The text of the marker states:
At the end of the Civil War, the U. S. undertook care of disabled Union veterans in a system of homes known by 1873 as National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS). The offer of free natural gas by Grant County residents and the efforts of local Congressman George W. Steele persuaded Congress to establish the Marion Branch of the NHDVS on July 23, 1888. Members had access to health care, training, work, and recreation. In 1920, this Branch became a neuropsychiatric hospital for World War I veterans; in 1930, it was consolidated within new Veterans Administration. As part of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, facility continues to care for veterans. Some original buildings and National Cemetery remain.
Among the many speakers at the dedication were Indiana State Representative, Kevin Mahan, and Director of the VA Northern Health Care System, Daniel Hendee. Several speakers noted that the current VA hospital is still today fulfilling its mission to serve veterans, 123 years after the establishment of the Marion Branch.  Many veterans attended the ceremony, including Douglas Smith who sang the National Anthem.
Right: IHB staff member Jill Weiss speaks at the dedication ceremony. 
Jill Weiss, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers

Marker Volunteers

IHB extends thanks to Mitchell Porter of Daviess County and Chris Hammock's Park Tudor students, all dedicated marker volunteers.  In the past year, Mitchell has taken on refurbishment of five historical markers.  What inspires this dedication?  Mitchell says, "Our 'stories' are one of the most important life lessons we can leave for those behind us: historical markers serve as bookmarks for these stories." 
Park Tudor (Marion County) students refurbished the Civil War Arsenal and Home of Charles Warren Fairbanks markers and could be seen working on the Lincoln marker right on Washington Street in late October.  Ms. Hammock's classes visit historic sites and fix ailing markers as part of enrichment activities.  Student Riley Allen "felt good about giving back to the community" and said that the part of the Civil War Arsenal refurbishment he enjoyed most was "washing the marker and splashing a few of the workers." 
IHB welcomes another school to our adopt-a-marker program this month:  St. Jude School (St. Joseph County) 4th graders refurbished the badly-worn Indiana Territorial Line marker.  Thank you to Jeff Hawkins, who noticed the problem and enlisted their aid.
Mitch Porter, Daviess County
Left:  Mitchell Porter repaints the lettering of the Vincennes Donation Lands marker, Daviess County.

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Long Journey Home
Get Long Journey Home: Oral Histories of Contemporary Delaware Indians and other great books and souvenirs for less in November and December.  All items are 20% off in our Holiday Sale (excludes 40% off books).


More Bookshop News

Indiana sun catchers have arrived in the IHB Book Shop.  Each art glass piece from Kokomo Opalescent Glass is unique, with over 22,000 color and texture combinations.   They also make excellent holiday ornaments!
Cloud Blue Sun Catcher
Left:  Indiana sun catcher in Cloud Blue.  Supplies are limited and colors vary.  Visit us soon to see them in person!

Educators' Corner

Celebrate the 195th anniversary of Indiana’s statehood on December 11!  The official birthday party will be held Dec. 9 at the Indiana State House.  IHB and many other state agencies and elected officials will have displays and interactive activities for the schools that are signed up to participate this year.  Here's how you can get involved:


IHB Collaborations

Students in the Public History program at IUPUI are currently gathering sources to update the markers for Shaffer Chapel A.M.E. Church in Delaware County and Indian Cemetery/Eel River Tribe of Miamis in Boone County.  Their reviews will be posted on the IHB website and will add to our understanding of African American and American Indian history in those areas. Check back for more information!



Do you sell a book on Clark's Land Grant?  ~IHB shopper

We do not stock a book in our Book Shop, but there are resources available on this topic. View the plat of Clark's Grant online.  IHB staff frequently use William Hayden English's Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio 1778-1783 in research about Clark's Grant.  Read the book online or in person at the Indiana State Library.