Chief Leatherlips Monument

The gravesite of Shateyahronya is located at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Stratford Avenue in Dublin. Leatherlips didn’t always have a gravestone, despite being buried in the same location since his execution in the early 1800s. Until the late 1800s, the burial was little more than a mound of stones covering a shallow grave. The limestone sculpture, which sits atop a hill overlooking the park, was commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council in 1990. It was designed by Boston artist Ralph Helmick. The sculpture is meant to be a portrait of the man, not an idealized version of him.

In 1990, the sculpture, a 12-foot-tall image of Indigenous Wyandot Chief Leatherlips, was unveiled in Scioto Park. The head is made up of piled and mortared natural limestone blocks of varying sizes. The artwork is open on top, with piled stones stretching back down the sides to form a tiny enclosure that allows guests to see the river, sunset, and amphitheater. Chief Leatherlips’ last hunting camp is said to have been 2 miles north of Historic Dublin, near the present-day park, along the banks of the Scioto River. The ancient Chief was regarded as clever, dignified, and peaceful in early history written by European settlers of the period.

According to local legend, Chief Leatherlips was executed by fellow tribesmen at Scioto Park. Leatherlips signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, putting an end to the Northwest Indian War. The Wyandots had made peace with the settlers and the government, but the Native American Tecumseh had not yet settled and was still angered by the actions of the colonists. According to some historians, Tecumseh’s brother Tenskwatawa sent the five Native Americans who beheaded Leatherlips because he refused to join their war against the colonists. The group tracked down Leatherlips and executed him in front of five witnesses. Historical accounts say the executioners danced around Leatherlips, splitting his skull with tomahawks one by one. Once they were done, they rolled his body into the grave and left.

Today, Chief Leatherlips’ gravesite is a popular spot for Dublin residents and visitors alike to observe wildlife and enjoy the beautiful landscaping of central Dublin. Each May, the city holds a daylong celebration in his honor that includes traditional dancing, storytelling, music and even recreations of his execution. This monument was erected as an homage to show the importance of Native history, and to remind visitors of the complex history of Native Americans in central Ohio. The Chief Leatherlips Monument is truly a sight to see, and an important part of Dublin’s history.

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