Golf or Heritage: Earthworks hangs in the balance



The Country Club, and the fact that there are no recognized tribes or reservation land in Ohio, has sparked indigenous activism in and outside of the state. Tribal members, including Chief Glenna Wallace of the Eastern Shawnee tribe, have made recurring visits to the state to advocate for the mounds’ preservation. The mounds are especially important to the Eastern Shawnee because their tribe, along with others, were removed from the state in the 1800s.

  • IN OPPOSITION: “Let them play golf”

    • Binding document:   The club has a lease for the land until 2078.
    • Preservation:   State officials stated that the club has been critical to protecting the land.
    • Private vs. Public:   A WHL designation would make the Octagon a space accessible to the public, which would interfere with the County Club’s private nature.
  • IN FAVOR: “This land is historic”

    • Cultural significance:   The Octagon serves as an astronomical observatory that traces the moon’s cycle. The Great Circle, another mound within the Earthworks, served as a sacred space for funeral and marriages rites.
    • Tourism:   A WHL inscription could spike visitation 10-fold.
    • Economic boost:   A WHL designation of Cahokia, another system of mounds, led to an additional $16.5 million in economic activity for the St. Louis region.


  • Members of a steering committee hope to have the Newark Earthworks on WHL by 2018.
  • The country club wants to remain private.


  • Revenue of the country club vs. potential revenue if the Earthworks receive a WHL designation.
  • Indigenous groups feel this land was taken from them, but members of the club feel that it’s now become a part of their community. How can we have this discussion?