In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state to join the union; 195 years later, we are set to celebrate our state’s birthday. It is amazing to think of the plentiful history that we have right here in Indiana, much of which goes unnoted. Many people are unaware of the rich past and historical significance that our state represents.
Indiana means “the land of the Indians.” Our name comes with good reason because early Native Americans inhabited this land and formed villages and towns. Several different groups lived here, such as the Potawatomi, Shawnee, Delaware and most notably to our region, the Miami Indians.
Kekionga was the most important Miami village, located in current day Fort Wayne. It was near an important portage, where the people could carry goods from one body of water to another. This was a significant location because the Miami used the rivers for trade and travel.
Our state really does have an intriguing past. I think everyone should take some time to learn more about Indiana and our heritage. You will be surprised with all the fascinating information you’ll discover.
One way to further the understanding of our state’s history is by educating our youth on what it means to be a Hoosier. Principals, teachers and parents are all encouraged to bring their fourth grade students to the Statehouse on Friday, December 9 to attend “Indiana Statehood Day.”
During this special day there will be presentations located all throughout the Statehouse, which will include state agencies, all three branches of government and historical groups as well.
The Indiana Statehouse Tour Office is sponsoring an essay competition in conjunction with Statehood Day for any fourth grade public, private or home school student in the state. Essays should range from 100 to 400 words and convey what living in the state of Indiana means to the student—what are the things that make the student glad that he or she is a Hoosier?
Essays can be typed or handwritten and must include the student’s name, teacher’s name and the school’s name, address and telephone number. Please make sure that the school name is on every essay. The deadline for all essays to be postmarked is October 28, 2011.
A group of selected judges will read through all entries and then choose first, second and third place winners. The first place winner will be invited to read his or her essay at the December 9 ceremony.
I encourage all fourth grade students to participate in this contest and expand their knowledge on our state’s long and significant history. To participate send your essays to Jennifer Hodge, State Capitol Tour Office, Indianapolis Statehouse, 200 West Washington Street, Room 220, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204.
Many people have called the Hoosier state home, whether it is astronaut Gus Grissom, President William Henry Harrison, World War II journalist, Ernie Pyle or Garfield creator, Jim Davis. Indiana has proven over and over again it is great place to reside and it has a rich and plentiful history worth learning about. I hope that not only students, but adults as well, take part in helping celebrate our state’s 195th birthday this December.
For more information on the essay contest please call the State Capitol Tour Office at 317-233-9830.