Couple Brings their Native Heritage to Ohio Resort, Create Area’s First Pow Wow

Buffalo Hills Resort, located in Senacaville, Ohio, is hosting its 1st Annual Native American Pow Wow, which began on July 26 and ends on July 29.

“We wanted to do an event that is educational and one that brings our culture and heritage to the area. There is not a whole lot in the area,” said Dionne Bell-Tubby, marketing manager of the resort, referring to an insignificant American Indian population in their location.

Senacaville is a village in Guernsey County. Columbus, the capital and the largest city of the state, is an hour and a half drive.

Bell-Tubby, Choctaw, and manager of the resort for seven years, said she thought the idea of a pow wow is a fit for the resort. Though the owners are non-natives she said they agreed that it was a good event to have, to honor the rich Native heritage in the area.

“I spoke to our owners. They are very interested in Native American culture,” said Bell-Tubby.

The resort, on 360 acres, is said to be one of Ohio’s largest campgrounds and offers different accommodations for the campers, including camping in primitive surroundings or in the comforts of a recreational vehicle.

The outdoor facility touts a family-safe environment with swimming pool, horse trails, fishing barbecue and picnic areas, clubhouse with central air and over-sized fireplace and RV and boat storage.

The campground is in the midst of expansion and has just added a new miniature golf course, paintball and general store plus a new staff with the role of On-Site Social Director for Community Activities.

Quite recently, in time for the summer season, the resort added a custom teepee. The teepee’s exterior is that of a buffalo, an American bison that represents the American Indian’s reverence for the creatures that roamed in the local vicinity of Buffalo, Ohio.

Bell-Tubby said the teepee, which sleeps four, is now part of the accommodations the resort offers. Adding a teepee, she said is also aligned with their brand.

The teepee is going to be made available to guests who want to camp. She said visitors can make reservations online.

Aside from the teepee, the resort has always shown interest in Native culture. The trails, for instance, have been named after tribes such as Apache and Navajo. If the inaugural pow wow is in line with the resort’s business, it has personal meaning for Bell-Tubby and her husband Steven. The couple just recently married.

“When we thing of each other we always go back to the first pow wow we went to,” said Tubby, who is part Choctaw, Menominee, Oneida and Potawatomi. Before he moved to Ohio, he was residing in Chicago.

“I danced a few times when I was 14. It is good to know we have one here,” Tubby said. “This is a way for us to honor and remember where we came from, to educate and feel uplifted within ourselves.”

Tubby said he and his wife are looking forward to family and friends coming. “We want people to walk away with a sense of respect and honor in their hearts,” he said.

Bell-Tubby said the gathering is open to everyone and reminds her of the ones she went to in Lake Erie every year. “I danced there when I was younger,” she said.

At the moment she has 20 on her vendor list, and it is still growing. Already, 50 tribal members from Choctaw Mississippi have signed up. She also expects representation from Navajo and Cherokee.

To publicize the event, Bell-Tubby said they are sending notice through word of mouth, radio advertising, trade shows, their web site and flyers in the area, including their sister resort Pine Lakes Lodge, a nearby bed and breakfast from the same owners.

The event will feature music, dancers, authentic food, lectures, demonstrations, story telling and a variety of products from vendors. There will be no dancing contest but there will be stickball players.

Ticket prices per day are $8 per person, $5 for seniors (over 65 years of age) and children under 3 are free. Tickets are also sold online.

On July 26, Thursday, the festivities start at noon to 5 p.m. On Friday, it is from noon to 9 p.m. Weekend hours are extended. On Saturday, it is from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. while Sunday the time is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.