This exhibit is primarily concerned with the American West, however, it is important to acknowledge that the town of Delaware, Ohio--where this exhibit was conceived and is physically on display--also sits on land that was taken from Indigenous people.
Ohio Wesleyan University occupies land that was home to many Native nations seeking refuge from the colonialist expansion of the United States. These nations included the Shawnee, Wyandot, Potawatomi, and the Lenni Lenape, whose “English” name—Delaware—became the name for this town. The Native names for the two rivers that border this valley—Scioto and Olentangy—persist even though the people who named them were removed to Indian Territory. In the United States today, populations of Lenape people live in Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Although the state has no federally recognized tribes or reservations, central Ohio is now home to many Native people whose parents and grandparents were relocated away from reservations and into cities by the United States government in the 1950s and 1960s. They include people from the Lakota, Cherokee, Navajo, Seneca, and other nations.
Although this history is complex, and little known, we believe that recognizing such truths are the first steps to creating more inclusive histories and more equitable relationships among people in this country.