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Native American Indians in Cleveland


Flag ceremony at powwow

Tribes have their own individual flags
but Native Americans treat the US flag with great respect

Osiyo
(Osiyo is a Cherokee greeting)


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2024

Native American Drumming in Cultural Gardens

Every summer the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation hosts a series of free World on Stage concerts at the Centennial Peace Plaza on MLK Blvd. in Cleveland. The first concert of Summer 2024 was on June 29, 2024 and the focus was Percussion of the World. Robbi Swift from the local Native American community introduced 4 performers (one just turned 6 years old!) who sang and drummed to a "social" Native American song. The drums were handmade from elk, moose and deer

Robbi Swift and drummers from the local Native American community

She then invited the audience to come up and participate in a friendship round dance around the Plaza. She explained that Cleveland was a relocation center during the Eisenhower years so there are many different tribes represented in the area.

Dancing in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens to Native American drummers

Dancing in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens
to Native American drummers


Photos and videos of the Native Americans performing


Native Americans at St. Patrick's Day Parade

The Native American community was represented at the 2024 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cleveland. The Native American Cultural Garden marched as part of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation unit.

Cleveland 2024 St. Patrick's Day Parade


Cleveland 2024 St. Patrick's Day Parade

See more from the 2024 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cleveland


2023

Native American Community at One World Day 2023

The Native American Cultural Garden was busy on One World Day 2023 in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. One World Day has been the official event of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation since 1946. Over 50,000 people visited the gardens on One World Day 2023.

The Lake Erie Native American Council group led off the Parade of Flags which had 1500 people from over 53 countries.

Watch the video of the Parade of Flags.



Lake Erie Native American Council at One World Day

Lake Erie Native American Council at One World Day

Lake Erie Native American Council in Parade of Flags at One World Day

Lake Erie Native American Council in Parade of Flags at One World Day

Lake Erie Native American Council in Parade of Flags at One World Day

See more of One World Day 2023.


Native American Heritage Month

In 1976 a Cherokee/Osage Indian named Jerry C. Elliott-High Eagle authored Native American Awareness Week legislation; the first historical week of recognition in the nation for native peoples. In 1986, President Reagan proclaimed November 23-30 as American Indian Week, which would typically fall alongside American Thanksgiving. Four years later, President George H. W. Bush designated the entire month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month thereafter commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month.

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, First Americans, Indigenous Americans, and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, including Hawaii and territories of the United States, as well as Northern Mexico and Canada and other times just the mainland United States. There are 574 federally recognized tribes living within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations.

"Native Americans" (as defined by the United States Census) are indigenous tribes that are originally from the contiguous United States, along with Alaska Natives. Indigenous peoples of the United States who are not American Indian or Alaska Native include Native Hawaiians, Samoans, and Chamorros. The US Census groups these peoples as "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".


Choctaw Indians and the Irish

According to the Smithsonian, the Choctaw Nation was the first of the large southeastern tribes relocated under the Indian Removal Act. Between 1831 and 1833, around 20,000 Choctaw people set out on the journey to Oklahoma from their traditional lands east of the Mississippi River. The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while in route to their newly designated Indian reserve. Historians estimate that 4,000 died along the way or shortly after.

The Trail of Tears was a series of forced displacements of approximately 60,000 American Indians of the "Five Civilized Tribes" between 1830 and 1850 by the United States government. Members of the so-called "Five Civilized Tribes"-the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations (including thousands of their black slaves)-were forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to areas west of the Mississippi River that had been designated Indian Territory.

The effort was vehemently opposed by some, including U.S. Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee, but President Andrew Jackson was able to gain Congressional passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Trail of Tears memorial - Located in New Echota, Georgia this monument was erected in memory of the Cherokee on the Lane of Tears

Trail of Tears memorial in New Echota, Georgia

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic the Great Famine, also known as the Great Hunger was a period of starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1849, which constituted a historical social crisis which had a major impact on Irish society and history as a whole. The worst year of the period was 1847, known as "Black '47". During the Great Hunger, roughly a million people died and more than a million fled the country, causing the country's population to fall by 20-25%. Between 1845 and 1855, no fewer than 2.1 million people left Ireland, one of the greatest exoduses from a single island in history. There are various reasons for the Great Hunger but I won't get into the politics of it. Suffice it to say, it caused a drastic and lasting change in the relationship between the Irish and British.

In 1847, only 14 years after their long march along the Trail of Tears ended Choctaw people in Oklahoma learned of the Irish famine. Choctaw individuals made donations totaling $170, the equivalent of several thousand dollars today, for the relief of the Irish poor. This empathy by a one mistreated group for another was historic.

There is a memorial in Cleveland's Flats to those who died in the Great Hunger.

Irish Famine Memorial

Irish Famine Memorial in Cleveland


In 2014 in his sermon at the 15th Annual Irish Famine Memorial Mass, Fr. Jim O'Donnell told the story of how the Choctaw Indians, who had just survived the Trail of Tears, helped the Irish people with the few funds that they had.



About 10,000 people have viewed that video and there are some interesting comments such as:

  • We, the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw nation still think of you. Remember, Ireland... we are alive and well!! We continue to prosper and grow, thank you for keeping us in your prayer! Nashoba Ohoyo!! Awesome. The Choctaw are also trying to revive their language like the Irish, so many similarities between these people :)

  • Partial Choctaw ancestry here. I can't take any credit for this act of humility but from what I could understand it was done as a gesture from a great amount of understanding, as the Irish people like the Choctaw had been forced to undergo such scrutiny and abuse at the hands of more powerful (and alas, violent) groups and empires. May the Irish flourish in the face of adversity in their long-standing historical struggles. May God, and any spirits, bless you! This makes me shed a tear, because a little bit of help went a long way. Much love from a Chippewa Indian.

  • We saw the Choctaw memorial headdress in Cork when we went down there a couple of years ago. Thanks to Choctaw people for making a wonderful gesture to a starving population at the time even when you were going through tyranny and oppression as well. Best wishes from Ireland.

  • I just learned about this yesterday at our Ladies Hibernian meeting. Thanks and God bless the Choctaw Nation for helping the Irish. Mom's grandpa was Famine Irish and from Cork, he was able to come to America. Started working for Frisco RR helping them build in MO. The start of 3 generations to work for Frisco -my grandpa and his brothers, and my Mom. She met my Dad at company picnic and I grew up loving trains and still do. So I will never forget what the Choctaw Nation did for our family and others in Ireland.
  • Thank you so much from a Tipperary Man and all of Ireland For both our nations as we say in Irish Tiocfaidh ár lá in English "our day will come"

And so on.


News and Upcoming Events for Native Americans in Cleveland

Submit your Cleveland Native American news and events.


Organizations and Resources for Native Americans in Cleveland

Lake Erie Native American Council

The Lake Erie Native American Council (LENAC) was established in 1990 to promote traditional values and increase awareness among the Native American youth in Cuyahoga County. LENAC has since expanded its area to include Lorain, Medina and Lake Counties. LENAC is a not-for-profit educational and social service agency (501-C-3). The Lake Erie Native American Council provides programming and services to educate and entertain, while stressing the importance of culture and personal awareness. L.E.N.A.C is creating opportunity to educate, reaching minds in and outside the Native American communities through old teachings of culture and traditions. Its membership consists of many different indigenous Nations as well as Non-Natives.

Tribal Representation: Acoma, Algonquin, Anishinaabe, Apache, Aztec, Blackfoot, Catawba, Cayuga, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chickasaw, Chippewa, Choctaw, Comanche, Cree, Creek, Crow, Dakota, Delaware, Dine', Eskimo, Hawaiian, Hidatsa, Ho-chunk, Hopi, Inca, Iroquois Confederacy, Itza Maya, Kickapoo, Kiowa Apache, Kiowa, Lakota, Laguna, Lipan Apache, Lumbee, Mayan, Mohawk, Mohican, Muskogee, Nez Perce, Nakota, Northern Cheyenne, Odawa, Ojibway, Omaha-Ponca, Oneida, Onondaga, Osage, Ottawa, Paiute, Pawnee, Ponca, Pueblo, Seminole, Seneca, Severn Ojibwe, Shoshone, Sioux, Taino, Ute, Yuchi, Yuma, and Zuni


The Miami Valley Council for Native Americans

Founded in 1989 - The Mission of The Miami Valley Council for Native Americans is to preserve and promote the culture, heritage and spirituality of American Indian People. Preservation of the culture. Preservation of the Traditional and Spiritual Beliefs. Preservation of Sacred Grounds and Sites. Heighten Public Awareness.

tmvcna89@aol.com http://www.TMVCNA.org

Monthly Meetings are held Monthly on the Second Sunday of each month, at 1:00 PM at the COMMUNITY OF CHRIST CHURCH, 860 Grange Hall Road, Beavercreek Ohio.


North American Indian Cultural Center

NAICC is a statewide non-profit social service organization that was founded in 1974 to provide assistance to the American Indian and Native Alaskan population of Ohio.

https://ohioindiansnow.com/
North American Indian Cultural Center. 111 West Ave, Tallmadge, Ohio 44278, United States. 330-724-1280


Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO)

The Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO) is an organization that advocates the preservation and revitalization of American Indians and Alaskan natives living in Ohio. NAICCO focuses on services that promote American Indians' and Alaskan natives' values, rights, traditions, beliefs, identities, cultures, spiritualities, and overall wellness.


Native American Indian and Veterans Center, Inc. (NAIVC)

The Native American Indian and Veterans Center, Inc. (NAIVC) The mission of Native American Indian and Veterans Center is to assist in bringing communities together by promoting cultural awareness, and improving personal health and quality of life of the under-served Native Americans and U.S. Veterans.

211 Third St., N.W., Suite- A. Barberton, Ohio 44203
Office: 330-59-NAIVC (330-596-2482)
NAIVC1@aol.com, Info@NAIVC.org, JLyons@NAIVC.org, www.NAIVC.org


The American Indian Education Center (AIEC)
The American Indian Education Center (AIEC) is an agency devoted to the cultural, educational and socioeconomic enhancement of American Indians through the provision of programs and services that empower all Indigenous cultures represented in the State of Ohio, with the holistic goal of developing self-sufficiency, self-determination, and self-esteem among all community members.


Indian Museum of Lake County

The Indian Museum is a non-profit corporation run by the Lake County Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Ohio. The museum’s goals have been to preserve materials important to the Native American history of Northeastern Ohio, all of Ohio and to exhibit art and crafts of today’s Native Americans throughout the North American Continent.

The museum occupies space at the Technical Center in Willoughby, Ohio with a collection of over 26,000 prehistoric artifacts from 10,000 B.C. to 1650 A.D. plus Native America crafts from 1800 to 2008.


Submit your Cleveland Native American organizations and resources.

Out & About - Photos and Event Recaps

2022

Native American community at One World Day

Members of the local Native American community set up a tipi on One World Day August 28, 2022 in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Native American community set up a tipi on One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens

Native American community set up a tipi on One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens


See more of One World Day 2022.


2014

Choctaw Trail of Tears remembered by Cleveland Irish
September 20, 2014

In his sermon at the 15th Annual Irish Famine Memorial Mass Fr. Jim O'Donnell told how the Choctaw Indians, who had just survived the Trail of Tears, helped the Irish people with the few funds that they had.

Father Jim O'Donnell

Father Jim O'Donnell

The Choctaw Trail of Tears was the relocation of the Choctaw Nation from their country referred to now as the Deep South (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana) to lands west of the Mississippi River in Indian Territory in the 1830s. A Choctaw minko (chief) was quoted by the Arkansas Gazette that the removal was a "trail of tears and death." After removal the Choctaws became three distinct groups, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

More on the Trail of Tears and the relationship to the Irish.


Native Americans from the Lenape Nations

Native Americans from the Lenape Nations marched and performed at the 4th Annual Downtown Ashtabula Multi-Cultural Festival on July 26, 2014.

Clan Mother Morning Dove and Chief Quiet Wolf led the blessing of the Festival and the drum circle. They also explained about the Lenape Nation and their beliefs.

Lenape Nation Clan Mother Morning Dove and Chief Quiet Wolf

Clan Mother Morning Dove and Chief Quiet Wolf

Photos and videos from the Lenape Nations in Ashtabula


Native Americans at Umoja Parade

Native Americans were represented in the 2014 African American Umoja Parade on May 31, 2014. Umoja is a Swahili word meaning Unity.

Native American Indian groups at African American Gardens at Cleveland African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


Native American Indian groups at African American Gardens at Cleveland African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


Native American Indian groups at African American Gardens at Cleveland African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


Native American Indian groups at African American Gardens at Cleveland African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


Native American Indian groups at African American Gardens at Cleveland African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


Video and photos from the 2014 Umoja Parade


2013

Native American Cultural Garden

The Native American Cultural Garden has a spot in the Cultural Garden chain. It is on the east side of MLK Blvd. toward the north end.

Native American Cultural Garden in Cleveland

One World Day August 25, 2013


Native American honors his family with a song in Cleveland

Native American Joseph from South Dakota honors his family every time he sings and plays the drums. He told his story and performed a traditional song in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The video gets shaky near the end.




Native Americans at African-American Heritage Umoja Parade

Ohio Chapter - Native Americans at African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


Native Americans at African-American Heritage Umoja Paradeive


Native Americans at African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


See more from the African-American Heritage Umoja Parade


Caroline Mills is from the Eastern Shoshone Tribe in western Wyoming. She explained the different costumes and activities of some of the Native American tribes in the region in this short video on April 26, 2013.




Native American Display at Culture Shock 2013

Tri-C West April 18, 2013

The First Nation display at the 2013 Culture Shock event which was put on by Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) West and the Parma City School District.

Native American - First Nation - table

See more from Culture Shock 2013


American Indian Powwow in Cleveland
Edgewater Park June 2007

American Indian Powwow in Cleveland
Edgewater Park June 2005

More photos of the costumes and Grand Entry
American Indian Powwow in Cleveland - 2005




Lumbee Tribe Indian in costume at Powwow

Business, Education and Employment Information

Submit your Cleveland American Indian jobs, classes and other opportunities.


Cleveland Native American Feedback and Memories

Submit your Cleveland Native American Feedback and Memories.


Native American History and Culture


Tell us about the music, food, holidays, traditions, costumes, language and other qualities that make Native Americans so special.



Native American Wisdom

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves.

One is evil, - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance,self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good, - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, - and inside every other person,too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute, then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied,"The one you feed."



Native American Indian Wisdom - Proverbs and Quotes


Submit your Cleveland Native American cultural items.


Profiles of Native Americans in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio



If you know of a Cleveland Native American who should be profiled,
please let us know.
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