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Fine paid on behalf of Crandell

Posted by Richard Shiels to Friends of the Mounds List

Advocate Reporter

NEWARK -- In a gesture full of symbolism, supporters of a Cherokee woman convicted of trespassing at Moundbuilders Country Club paid her fine and court costs totaling $875 with Sacagawea gold dollar coins Friday.

Sacagawea, a Shoshone Indian woman, helped blaze the trail for the historic journey of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the West in the early 1800s. The United States Mint began issuing the Sacagawea gold coins in 2000, when the Susan B. Anthony silver coins ran out.

Likewise, Barbara Crandell, the Cherokee woman arrested at the Octagon Earthworks site at the country club, is a symbol of Native American leadership to her friends and supporters.

"I see grandmother as the modern-day warrior for Native-American issues," said Helen Griffin, a member of the Friends of the Mounds and the Native American Alliance of Ohio.

About 25 people -- Native Americans and non-Native Americans, including Newark Mayor Frank Stare and Councilman William Rauch -- gathered at 3 p.m. Friday in the Newark Municipal Building to show Crandell support and observe the payment of her fine and court costs in the municipal Clerk of Courts Office.

Crandell, 73, of Thornville, has said she went June 26 to the Octagon Earthworks to pray at the observatory mound. The Ohio Historical Society, which operates the Octagon site -- considered sacred by Native Americans -- has leased the site to the country club until 2078. The club has an 18-hole golf course on the site.

The historical society has been working with members of the Friends of the Mounds, the country club, and other stakeholders in the development of a cultural resource management plan for the Newark Earthworks, which includes the Octagon Earthworks. Access is one issue being discussed by OHS and the citizens advisory group.

According to agreements between OHS and the country club, the public is not permitted on the golf course when golfers are playing.

Crandell considers the Octagon site to be public land. While on the observatory mound that June day, Crandell said she was taunted by golfers, who wanted her to leave. After she refused, Moundbuilders Country Club President Skip Salome called the Newark Police Department, who arrested her.

In a jury trial Nov. 7, she was convicted of criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor charge, and fined $250 plus court costs, which totaled $875.27. The deadline for the payment was this coming Tuesday.

Crandell has refused to pay a dime herself, maintaining her innocence.

At the Newark Municipal Building, Crandell, with a bear staff in hand, told the group: "I have truly been blessed and blessed every day of my life. Thank you. Not everyone's evil and controlling."

Christine Ballengee-Morris, executive director of the Ohio State University's Multicultural Center in Columbus and a Friends member, said: "Our mound is a putting green for a few. ... We pay her (Crandell's) fine not because she is guilty, but because she was denied her right to access and her right to present her case in court."

Friends of the Mounds members had previously said they helped raise funds for Crandell because they didn't want to chance the elderly woman going to jail.

The local citizens group had raised $1,250 for Crandell, said Jean McCoard, secretary of the Native American Alliance of Ohio. The remaining funds will go toward continuing the work to gain greater access at the Octagon Earthworks, she said.

Newark's mayor also expressed his support for Crandell and said he would do what he could to support greater public access at the Octagon Earthworks.

"We stand united with you as the city to allow more access to the mounds for everyone," said Stare, who then hugged a surprised Crandell. "The city doesn't have a whole lot of control over that (access to the Octagon Earthworks). The state does."

Stare later signed a petition calling for more access to the Octagon Earthworks and contributed $3 to the cause. More than 250 people have signed the petition to date.

The group headed to the Clerk of Courts office on the third floor to pay Crandell's costs. Twenty-five-dollar coin rolls of the Sacagawea dollars were laid out in front of a cashier. Change was given for the 27 cents.

"It's legal tender," said Brad Feightner, chief deputy of the Clerk of Courts Office. "That's what we accept here."

Griffin went to two different Park National Bank branches in the area to get the Sacagawea gold coins. Feightner said the money will be deposited into the court's account at Park National Bank.

Reporter Julie Shaw can be reached at 328-8544 or [email protected]

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