Background

 

 In April, 2019, Summit County Council unanimously agreed to extend the celebration of American Indian heritage to the county, mirroring a resolution adopted by Akron City Council in 2018 declaring the first Monday in October as a day to honor Indian history, life and culture. The initiative was prompted by students at The Lippman School of Akron, which has a longstanding exchange relationship with the Northern Cheyenne Nation of Montana.

 

 The entire length of the portage was marked by the Summit County Historical Society in 1999, when for the first time monumental sculptures at each terminus of the Path were connected over the 8-mile trail by fifty markers in the shape of historic Indian broad blades.

 

 Students from Lippman, Portage Path CLC and the Cheyenne Nation joined together in 2016 to create a web-based mobile “app” that provides extensive information about the Indian trail, including its history and the natural world that it traverses. The app can be accessed at www.walkportagepath.org.

 

 The activities are sponsored by The Portage Path Collaborative, an assembly of educators, organizations and individuals committed to preserving and sharing the history of the First People of Akron and Summit County. The group includes: The Summit County Historical Society, The Lippman School, Summit Metro Parks, The University of Akron Institute for Human Science and Culture/ Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, and Stewards of Historic Preservation..

 

 A publication outlining the historic trail and the history of Native peoples who used the Portage Path has been published, and is free and available at the Historical Society and at Metro Parks’ F.A. Seiberling Naturerealm.

 

 The sculpture of a Native American portaging a canoe was designed and sculpted by Peter Jones who resides and works on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation near Versailles, New York. He graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in 1965. In February, 2018 Jones received the Community Spirit Award, a national recognition of exceptional artists who have shown a lifetime commitment to perpetuating their art and to restore and pass on ancestral knowledge and traditions, connecting Native peoples to their greatest assets.

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