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Photo of two Shawnee warriors riding horseback
Expert horsemanship is exhibited as Shawnee Warriors thunder across the stage in Blue Jacket

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Blue Jacket Outdoor Drama
A Local Legacy

If you were to visit Xenia, Ohio, you could see an outdoor drama production that shows the Ohio Valley area as it was in the late 1700s, when advancing frontiersmen fought the Shawnee Indians who wanted the land to remain free of ownership. The Shawnee strongly believed that the earth was sacred, that they did not own the land, but simply took care of it. When they died, they believed that they became a part of it. This belief eventually led to conflict with the white man.

The drama is about the life of Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket, portrayed as a white man named Marmaduke Van Swearingen, who was adopted by the Shawnee Indians. Because of the blue hunting jacket he wore, he was given the Shawnee name Wey-yah-pih-ehr-sehn-weh, or Blue Jacket. In the drama, Blue Jacket is attracted to the Indian way of life, lives his life as a Shawnee, and, together with the other Shawnee Indians, fought the white man over land. Ultimately, Blue Jacket was named War Chief of the Shawnee Nation.

Some people doubt the accuracy of the Blue Jacket story, including family members of Chief Blue Jacket, who say he was a Shawnee Indian, not a white man.

Can you think of other history stories that people disagree about?

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