July 15, 2014 –
Left to right: Tom Wabnum, Hattie Mitchell, Joyce Guerrero and Carrie O’Toole in front of a new historical sign about Chief Shabbona.
MAYETTA: Tribal Council members and representatives from the PBPN Language Department traveled to Illinois last Saturday to help dedicate a new historical marker on Chief Shabbona that is located at the Chief Shabbona Forest Preserve south of Shabbona.
According to an article in MidWeek News (DeKalb, Ill.), Joyce Guerrero, Vice Chairperson, was one of the main speakers during the ceremony. She said that she was impressed with the respectful way the land has been kept up.
Other Council members that attended the ceremony were Tom Wabnum, Hattie Mitchell and Carrie O’Toole. Billy Matchie, from the Language Department, officially blessed the site and was assisted by Lyman Shipshee. Other Prairie Band Potawatomi also attended.
More than 100 people came to the ceremony that dedicated a new sign about Chief Shabbona (Ottawa), an Indian leader, who married into the Potawatomi tribe in southern DeKalb County in the early 19th century. Many Prairie Band Potawatomi are the direct descendants of the Potawatomi who lived in the area for hundreds of years until they were relocated by the U.S. government and still feel a spiritual connection to the land.
The new sign replaces one that had been in the park for years but was taken down after it became dilapidated. Members of the DeKalb County board, the DeKalb County Historical and Geneological Society and others from the Shabbona community were all involved in constructing the new sign and ensuring that the historical significance of Chief Shabbona be kept. The sign is located about halfway down Park Road which is a half-mile from the forest preserve’s shelter area.