News from OAC

Martha Otto Selected for Ohio Women's Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Martha Otto! 

Martha is pictured with First Lady Frances StricklandOn August 26, 2010, Martha Otto, former Curator of Archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society, and past-President, Secretary, and founding member of the Ohio Archaeological Council, was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame.  The Ohio Archaeological Council’s service award is named in her honor. The image shows Martha (on left) with Ohio's First Lady Frances Strickland.

The Ohio Women's Hall of Fame was established in 1978 to publicly recognize the many outstanding contributions Ohio women have made to our state and nation.  Members of the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame come from all walks of life, but each has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to excellence, achievement and service to others. The Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame serves as a daily tribute to these women who are an ongoing source of pride and inspiration for all Ohioans – especially our state’s next generation of leaders.  The Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame honors Ohio women who emerge as leaders in their fields, often against great odds, with courage, determination and compassion. By celebrating their accomplishments, their struggles and triumphs, we prepare our children for the choices they must make and the challenges yet to come. Information about her induction and the Women’s Hall of Fame can be found at


OAC Publications Sale

 In order to reduce inventory, the OAC is offering huge discounts on its books. All prices are now more than 50% off the original price.  See the Publications pages for more information and to order.

New CRM Job Opportunities

The West Virginia Division of Highways seeks applicants for Archeologist 1 & 2 positions located in Charleston, West Virginia; details are available in the Career Opportunities pages.

OAC Trustee Tonetti Testifies on OHPO Funding Needs

On Wednesday, March 17, OAC Trustee Al Tonetti, presented testimony to the Ohio Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History.  The testimony was also submitted to Senator William Seitz, Chair of the Commission.  A copy of that testimony follows.

March 17, 2010

Senator William Seitz, Chair,

Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History

Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215


Senator Seitz and distinguished members of the Commission on the Education and Preservation of State History:

          On behalf of the Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC), I wish to address the Commission regarding funding for the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO), a division within the Ohio Historical Society (OHS).  The OAC is a private, nonprofit, charitable, scientific, and educational membership organization incorporated in the state of Ohio in 1975 to promote the advancement of archaeology in Ohio through research, education, and consultation with government agencies and the public.  Many of our members work closely with the OHPO on federally assisted private projects and public improvements when archaeological investigations are conducted.    

          As you may know, in order for states to participate in the federal historic preservation program each state must operate a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).  In Ohio, the SHPO is the OHPO.  Financially, the federal share of the program, funded through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), is 60 percent; states are required to provide a 40 percent match.  This year, Ohio’s match is $729,195, but the state appropriated only $228,246 (approximately 30 percent of the required match), a deficit of more than $500,000.  The insufficient cash match by the state of Ohio makes it difficult for the OHPO to meet its match requirement, and it requires the OHPO to spend valuable time seeking and documenting other forms of allowable match.  This is effort that would be better spent carrying out their vital role assisting private industry, local, state, and federal agencies, Indian tribes, and the public in assessing the impacts of economic development projects on historic properties pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.

          Each year, the OHPO reviews thousands of actions pertaining to federally assisted, licensed, and permitted projects in Ohio.  Without their review, and the work that hundreds of archaeologists perform on behalf of private industry and local, state, and federal agencies, many of these projects would be significantly delayed and some not built.

          As a result of both federal and state economic stimulus legislation, the OHPO faces the increasingly difficult task of completing their reviews quickly and thoroughly.  One year ago, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted.   By law, the OHPO is required to review ARRA projects and consult with federal agencies overseeing these projects before construction begins.  As a result, the OHPO has seen a significant increase in the number and types of projects it has to review.  Some applicants for ARRA funds have never dealt with the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, so more consultation between the OHPO, applicants for federal assistance, local, state, and federal agencies, Indian tribes, and the public has been necessary.  This is a heavy burden borne by the OHPO, done with insufficient funds by a dedicated and professional staff.

          In recent years, the state has cut the OHPO’s line from $402,685 in 2008, to $365,442 in 2009, to $228,246 in 2010/11 (actually $205,421, since OHS is taking 10 percent for overhead).  This year, Ohio’s HPF award is the seventh largest in the country.  In 2008, however, the state’s cash match ranked twenty-seventh nationally, and this year it will likely sink further.  The reduced state appropriation could place Ohio among the bottom ten states in regard to cash match, and if this trend continues it could jeopardize Ohio’s ability to gain its full appropriation, especially if the HPF receives its full appropriation through an effort now underway in Congress. 

          Thus, while the OHPO is making a valiant effort to do more with less from State Government, the burden is increasing and could be extremely difficult to maintain.  For Ohio’s economy to regain its vibrancy as quickly as possible, it needs an OHPO functioning even more efficiently than it does now.  The state’s current commitment to the OHPO’s vital role in growing Ohio’s economy is insufficient.  With full cash match, the OHPO would be in a much better position to assist in the recovery of Ohio’s economy.

          We also request that the state consider finding a dedicated source of funds for the OHPO.  The HPF, the federal funds source for the OHPO, is funded by revenues from off-shore oil well leases, not taxes.  Thus, we think it would be appropriate for the state to explore similar sources of funds, e. g., resource extraction revenues from state land, for the OHPO.  

          Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.  If you have any questions I would be pleased to address them.



Jarrod Burks, PhD



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OAC Comments on State Recognition of Native American Tribes Act

February 15, 2010


Senator John Carey

Chairman, Finance and Financial Institutions Committee

Senate Building
1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215


Dear Senator Carey:

Re: Senate Bill 149, The State Recognition of Native American Tribes Act

            I am writing to you today on behalf of the Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC).  The OAC ( is a private, nonprofit, charitable, scientific, and educational membership organization incorporated in the state of Ohio in 1975 to promote the advancement of archaeology in Ohio through research, education, and consultation with government agencies and the public.  The Board of Directors of the OAC has reviewed SB 149 and notes that there are sections of this bill that lack the specific information needed to clarify many of the processes proposed in the bill. 

            As you are likely aware, many significant archaeological sites and historic places in Ohio are associated with Native Americans.  Through consultation with government agencies, the public, and other means, the Ohio Archaeological Council occasionally works with individual Native Americans and Indian tribes on matters of mutual interest.  While we do not, in principle, oppose state recognition of Native American tribes, which the bill seeks to accomplish, we would like to make sure that the process of identifying candidates for positions on the traditional Native American council proposed in Section 185.04(B) as well as the ultimate recognition of American Indian Tribes or groups in the state of Ohio is conducted in an appropriate and responsible manner.

          One of our concerns is that Section 185.04 of the bill does not seem to include sufficient language requiring the Commission to carefully examine and verify the evidence a tribal applicant submits to the Commission with its petition.  Section 185.04(B)(1) states:

The Commission shall deny recognition if the petition does not meet, or if there is insufficient evidence that the petition meets, one or more of the criteria for recognition in Section 185.05 of the Revised Code.  A criterion is met if the petitioner provides explanations and supporting documentation that establish a reasonable likelihood of the validity of the facts relating to that criterion.

The second sentence of this section appears to preclude the Commission’s careful vetting of evidence for meeting the criteria for recognition.  It is highly unlikely that a petitioner will submit a petition that does not contain “explanations and supporting documentation that establishes a reasonable likelihood of the validity of the facts.”  It should be the Commission’s responsibility to independently verify the evidence submitted, including conducting its own research and providing for a public review process that would include public hearings whereby evidence to the contrary may be submitted to the Commission before they render their final decision.  Without a public process of some kind, how would anyone other than the petitioner, the Commission, and the traditional Native American council it assembles to advise it even know that a petition for state recognition has been submitted?  The Commission’s apparent acceptance of only what the petitioner gives the Commission as factual without seeking evidence to the contrary could lead to misinformed decisions that would border on outright negligence.

             We are also concerned about the make-up of the traditional Native American council mentioned in Section 185.04(B).  This section of the bill does not specify how the members of this council are to be selected by the Commission, who is eligible to serve on the council, what might be used as proof of Native American ancestry and how much is necessary, the length of their term, their compensation (if any), or how the council will operate.  Given the obvious importance of this council to the Commission’s duties with respect to state recognition, we feel that the make-up of the council and how it operates should be clarified in the bill.

            Additionally, we believe that like any other group petitioning the state for recognition as an “Indian Tribe” in Ohio, the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band should be required to demonstrate that they also meet the criteria for state recognition outlined in Section 185.05 of the bill, and should not be grandfathered into the bill under Section 185.021, notwithstanding Am. Sub. H.J. R. 8 of the 113th General Assembly, which was only honorific in nature and not intended to be used for the purposes of this bill.

            We would also like clarification as to why, under Section 185.05(A), the year 1900 is used as the beginning date for which a petitioner must show that it has been “on a substantially continuing basis” identified as a Native American tribe in Ohio.  Why not 1950, 1850, or 1803 when Ohio became a state?  What is the basis for using 1900?  In Sections 185.05(B) and (C) the term “historical times” is used.  By “historical times” does the bill mean since 1900?  The last official government removal of Native Americans from Ohio was conducted in 1843 with the final removal of Wyandotte from the state.  Perhaps this date should be considered as the start of “historical times” or as the beginning date for petitioners to show that they have been identified as a “Native American tribe” in Ohio as opposed to 1900.  Whatever the justification is behind a date established as a reference point in this bill, that rationale should be clarified and validated with historical reasoning and references.

             Among other things that the Finance and Financial Institutions Committee should consider as this bill is discussed and debated among the Committee is the potential impact that State recognition of Indian Tribes can have in relation to Federal laws as specified in Section 185.03 of the bill.  Such recognition of Indian tribes by the state of Ohio could provide an avenue by which these tribes may make claims under various federal laws and executive orders including the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-608) and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-341) that could create additional financial and administrative burdens to the state.

While we believe the intent behind SB 149 is admirable, we feel there are many sections of this bill that need to be revised providing clarification of the matters we have brought to your attention before it is further considered or voted upon by the Committee.  The OAC remains committed to insuring that SB 149 is workable and will honor any request for additional information from the Committee that our organization can provide.



Jarrod Burks, PhD


Statehood Day 2010 and Legislative Priorities

Statehood Day 2010 is March 3.  Let your voice be heard by participating!  Passage of House Bill 75 will have direct benefit to the OAC and archaeological organizations throughout Ohio by creating a grant program from voluntary donations.  To register go to the Statehood Day website:




• SENATE PASSAGE OF HOUSE BILL 75 (OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY INCOME TAX CHECK-OFF) creating a competitive grant program to fund local projects via historical, archival and historic preservation organizations throughout Ohio. (Senate only; Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 75 by a vote of 95-1 on December 17, 2009).  When enacted into law, this bill will provide the Ohio Archaeological Council and other regional and local archaeological organizations funds to carry out local projects.


RETURN THE 5TH AND 8TH GRADE SOCIAL STUDIES EXAMS TO THE OHIO ACHIEVEMENT TEST to ensure that Ohio schools continue to teach the core subject of social studies. The social studies and writing test requirements were removed for budget-saving purposes in the FY 2010-11 state operating budget.  This is important to the archaeological community because Ohio prehistory is taught in social studies, and teachers teach to what is tested; if it’s not on the test, it doesn’t get taught! 


RE-AUTHORIZE AND MAKE PERMANENT THE STATE’S HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDIT which has leveraged more than $1.2 billion in private redevelopment and federal tax credits. The Historic Tax Credit program subsidizes 25% of qualified expenses to rehabilitate historic buildings throughout Ohio. To date, approved projects since 2007 have resulted in more than $225 million in tax credits being approved by the Ohio Department of Development.


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