Letter to the Editor:
Protecting, preserving sacred grounds for future generations

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my support for the Ohio History Connection’s decision to discontinue the Lighting the Serpent event. I work in the Tribal Historic Preservation Office for the Seneca Nation, a federally recognized tribe headquartered in Salamanca, New York with approximately 8,000 tribal citizens.

The Seneca Nation has strong ties to Ohio. Ohio was once Seneca territory and is where the state gets its name, a Seneca word Ohiyo meaning “beautiful river.” Seneca cultural and religious ceremonies have their roots in what are called today the Adena and Hopewell cultures and these sites in Ohio continue to generate great pride and reflection for Seneca Nation citizens.

I fully support the Ohio History Connection’s work to be responsible stewards of sacred American Indian sites and to discontinue events and programs that do not preserve and represent the history of this sacred site. Serpent Mound and all American Indian mound sites need to be protected, respected and valued just like other people’s and culture’s Places of Worship. Stewardship of Native religious and burial sites is a moral obligation.

It is said that one can determine the quality of a society by the way it treats the dead and sacred sites.

The Ohio History Connection has taken an important step that I see as preserving the integrity of a site of profound significance.

The Seneca Nation looks forward to working with the Ohio History Connection to help preserve Serpent Mound and all historic American Indian sites in Ohio. On Nov. 11, 2017, Seneca Nation passed a Tribal resolution to support the designation of Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial earthworks and Serpent Mound as World Heritage sites, which speaks to our commitment to these Ohio earthworks and our partners who are helping preserve them.

Working together, we can protect these sacred places so that all children, for the next seven generations, can stand in awe of what the ancestors that came before us were able to achieve.

Jay Toth
Tribal Historic Preservation Office
Seneca Nation