Mckees Rock Mound – sacred to Iroquoian people

This page is dedicated to exposing the fraudulent re-written history being promoted by an individual, by the name of Eugene Strong, who is claiming Pottawatomie heritage. A copy of this book full of otah and lies has been sent to us for our review. Some of the cultural misappropriation will be discussed on this page.

A few lines from this book state: Queen Aliquippa, was a Delaware or Lenape Clanmother. From many other sources, this is one of the statements not holding any water, as Queen Aliquippa was a Seneca leader and her husband was a Seneca Chief. She had a village located near the McKee’s Rock Mound, which was part of the ancient agreement between the Erie Confederacy and the Five Nations ( Six Nations) for the Six Nations to be stewards of the ancient mound sites.

Further another one of the many errors in the book, classified the Monongahela people as Algonquin. They were not Algonquin, as the Monongahela were part of the Erie Confederacy, which also in the 1600’s became completely absorbed into the Five Nations ( Six Nations).We all lived in round houses at one time, as the Iroquoian people did not always live in longhouses, so finding round house structures near ancient mound sites is no indication that they were Algonquin ancestral sites. Types of houses can not be used to classify a site solely on their own as whether the site is ancestral to Iroquoian or Algonquin.  This is the common error that many archaeologists and anthropologists have made. Upon further investigation with other Iroquoian leaders, it has been said that the Monongahela people were a mixed people of the Iroquoian and Siouan. This would explain why two different house structures have been found at Monongahela village sites, both oval and round. As stated before the Monongahela were not Algonquin/Delaware/Shawnee/Pottawatomie as claimed in the book of lies and otah that Eugene is peddling.

Here are some documents from other sources proving that McKees Rock Mound is not an Algonquin site.

Seneca Tribe Leader Visited by George Washington Queen Aliquippa (d. 1754) was a leader of the Mingo Seneca Tribe who lived near what is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George Washington visited Aliquippa in December 1753, stating: “As we intended to take horse here [at Frazer’s Cabin on the mouth of Turtle Creek], and it required some time to find them, I went up about three miles to the mouth of the Youghiogheny to visit Queen Aliquippa, who had expressed great concern that we passed her in going to [Fort LeBouef]. I made her a present of a match-coat and a bottle of rum, which latter was thought much the better present of the two.” Not sure if this quote means that Queen Aliquippa was feeling shunned because the General was in town and not paying a visit, or if she was mistrustful of his presence. Either way, that bottle of rum seemed to do the trick.

Queen Alliquippa
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Queen Alliquippa (died December 23, 1754) was a leader of the Seneca tribe of American Indians during the early part of the 18th century.

Little is known about Alliquippa’s early life. Her date of birth has been estimated anywhere from the early 1670s to the early 18th century.

By the 1740s, she was the leader of a band of Mingo Seneca living along the three rivers (the Ohio River, the Allegheny River, and the Monongahela River) near what is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

By 1753, she and her band were living at the junction of the Monongahela and Youghiogheny Rivers near the present site of McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

George Washington wrote of his visit to Alliquippa in December 1753 stating: “As we intended to take horse here [at Frazer’s Cabin on the mouth of Turtle Creek], and it required some time to find them, I went up about three miles to the mouth of the Youghiogheny to visit Queen Alliquippa, who had expressed great concern that we passed her in going to [Fort LeBouef]. I made her a present of a match-coat and a bottle of rum, which latter was thought much the better present of the two.”

Queen Alliquippa was a key ally of the British leading up to the French and Indian War. Alliquippa, her son Kanuksusy, and warriors from her band of Mingo Seneca traveled to Fort Necessity to assist George Washington but did not take an active part in the Battle of the Great Meadows on July 3-4,1754.

After the British defeat at the Battle of the Great Meadows and the evacuation of Fort Necessity, Alliquippa moved her band to the Aughwick Valley of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania for safety. She died there on December 23, 1754.

The city of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania was named in her honor by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. However, she herself had no connection to the land upon which the city was built [1].

Note: In 1752, Conrad Weiser reported visiting Queen Aliquippa, at “Aliquippa’s Town” located on the Ohio at the mouth of Chartier’s Creek, a tributary of the Ohio River near McKees Rock and Pittsburgh. In January, 1754, George Washington, was sent by Virginia’s Lt. Governor Dinwiddie to ask the French to leave the Ohio region, and he met with Iroquois leaders at Logstown, whilst there Washington failed to pay his respects to Queen Aliquippa. Washington arrived at the Great Meadows (Fort Necessity) 24 May 1754 A Virginia regiment arrived at the Great Meadows with the Half King on
9 June 1754. Battle of Fort Necessity occurred 3 July 1754. On the 4th of July, Washington surrendered to the French and accepted defeat. The British troops left Fort Necessity for Wills Creek on the morning of July 4, from there they marched back to Virginia. To understand the events of the day, a hearing conducted by Virginia’s Lt. Governor Dinwiddie was held. On August 27, 1754, a deposition was filed by a Captain John B. W. Shaw that stated the Native Americans, including Queen Alquippa, loyal to the British were going to “Jemmy Arther” for protection. “Jemmy Arther” was Aughwick or George Croghan’s settlement. In a letter dated 16th of August 1754, Croghan wrote to the governor of the province of Pennsylvania that the Half King and his fellow Mingo Seneca people had been staying with him at Aughwick since Washington’s defeat (Hazard 1897, 140-141). Conrad Weiser visited Croghan’s homestead at Aughwick on September 3, 1754 to investigate the situation and reported to Governor Hamilton. In Wiser’s report to the  Governor he reported to the Governor that; “. he had encountered about twenty cabins about Croghan’s house, and in them at least 200 Indians, men, women and children.” (Hazard 1878, 149). On December 23, 1754, Queen Alquippa died at Aughwick (Fort Shirley). Croghan’s blunt journal entry records her passing, “Alequeapy, ye old quine is dead.”

Burns, Jonathan A., Drobnock, George John, and Smith, Jared M. 2008. Croghan at Aughwick: History, Maps, and Archaeology Collide in the Search for Fort Shirley. Paper Presented Pioneer America Society October 2008. Hazard, Samuel. 1851. Pennsylvania Archives, vol. II. Joseph Severns and Co.,Philadelphia, PA. Hazard, Samuel. 1878. Pennsylvania Archives, vol. VI. Joseph Severns and Co., Philadelphia, PA. Hazard, Samuel. 1851. The Pennsylvania Colonial Records, vol. VI, Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania. Theodore Fenn and Co., Harrisburg, PA.


by Robert Hilliard

Milestones Vol 21 No. 3–Autumn 1996

This single verse of the Robert Schmertz song, “The Forks of  the O-hi-o”, tells the story:

Now Queen Allaquippa was the Indian skipper Of a tribe down Logstown way; And George said, “I better win this lady Indian and without delay. So he took her a coat and a jug of whisky and stayed a day or so, And he came back a ridin’and a lookin’and a walkin’ to the forks of the 0-hi-o.

Queen Aliquippa (or Allequippa, or Allaquippa, depending on  your preference), like so many other figures throughout history, seems to be best remembered not for her lifetime achievements, but for her brief encounter with someone who went on to far greater renown, a callow, young militia officer named George Washington. The mention of Aliquippa’s. name in young Major Washington’s journal in 1754 has over the ensuing years been the thing for which she is best remembered. It seems odd that a woman of such obvious influence and power in early western Pennsylvania history has been defined by a sarcastic remark penned by a 20 year old soldier.

The story of Queen Aliquippa begins long before 1754, in fact before white trappers were even venturing into western Pennsylvania. For this very reason, though, no accurate record of her life exists. The information that can be found is extremely fragmented, and in several cases contradictory, so sorting through the fact and fiction of her life will be left to the reader.

The most commonly repeated story of Aliquippa’s life begins with her visit, along with her husband and infant son, to Wilmington, Delaware in the autumn of 1701. The family had made the trip from their home in the Conestoga Valley in
central Pennsylvania to bid farewell to William Penn as he prepared to sail home to England. Previous to this time,
details of her life are practically non-existent, but at least two different historians have indicated that she was born in the 1680s, perhaps in 1685, probably in upstate New York. She was probably a member of the Seneca Indian tribe, but her family may have been part of a small faction of that tribe that broke away and moved to the Conestoga Valley. This group was later referred to as the Mingos, but they still retained their ties to the Seneca tribe and the Iroquois federation.

A second version of her early life has her being born in 1706, along with a twin sister called Snow in the Face, in a Washington county village called Indian Ridge. According to this story, the twins’ father, Oppaymolleh, was a village chief, from whom Aloquippa inherited her influence among her tribe. One unexplained detail of this version is the difficulty that Aliquippa would have had in traveling to Wilmington in 1701 (with a husband and son, no less), when she wasn’t born until five years later.

In all likelihood, her father was a man of importance, perhaps a chief, with the Mingos. Her husband may have been a chief as will, but this is another point of confusion. One historian surmises that her husband was Connodaghtoh, a Mingo who died shortly after the 1701 encounter with William Penn. Another names Allemykoppy, a Seneca chief, as her mate. At least one other reference states that she was married to the Seneca chief Alleguippas. (While Alleguippas was in central and western Pennsylvania around the same time period as Aliquippa, it seems most likely that the two have been linked
only by the similarity of their names.) Whatever the case, she seems to have outlived her husband, and apparently inherited his position of importance in the community. In the words of another Seneca chief of the era, Tanacharison (or the Half-King as the British called him), it was not unusual for women to occupy a position of power with the Iroquois.  “Women have great influence on our young warriors,” he said, “It is no new thing to take women into our councils, particularly among the Senecas.” This was becoming increasingly true in the mid-1700s, as frequent skirmishes depleted the ranks of the male warriors and the tribal system among the Iroquois began to break down.

According to a Quaker settler named Thomas Chalkey, a tribe ruled by Aliquippa lived in western Chester County in the early 1700s, but they moved to the western part of the state in the 1730s. Once in this area, Aliquippa’s band of Senecas, which numbered about thirty families, is repoited to have lived at various times along the Youghiogheny, Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio rivers.

Wherever they moved, Aliquippa seemed to command respect, not only from the Indian families under her rule, but from the
white explorers and traders who were beginning to slowly trickle into the region. In 1748, Conrad Weiser, Pennsylvania’s
ambassador to the Indian nations, traveled through the area on his way to a council meeting at Logstown (near present-day Ambridge), and quickly found out not only how much respect the aging leader commanded, but how quickly she became outraged when she felt slighted. When she found that Weiser had gone to Logstown without stopping in her village (which Weiser places on the north shore of the Allegheny, above the forks of the Ohio), she sent word to him demanding that he come and pay tribute. Not wishing to offend her, he quickly complied only to be further chided for not bringing enough gunpowder to give to her village. Diplomat that he was, Weiser satisfied her that he would leave what he could and get more to her as soon as possible.

Although the ‘queen’, as the English took to calling her, refused council with the French, her village always held a warm reception for the British. In 1752, Weiser again reported visiting her, this time at ‘Aliquippa’s Town’, located on the Ohio at the mouth of Chartiers Creek. It seems that the ambassador had grown wiser in the four years since his last visit; his journal mentions that his boat was hailed by a Delaware Indian village on the opposite bank of the Ohio, but he chose to put in at Aliquippa’s Town first.

About a year and a half later, in January, 1754, another future diplomat was to learn the same lesson. At a mere 20 years old, Major George Washington of the Virginia colonial militia, was sent by Governor Robert Dinwiddie to ask the French troops in the Ohio Valley to leave the region. Washington traveled from Virginia to Logstown for a council with the local Iroquois leaders, but failed to drop in on Queen Aliquippa, who by then was living on the Monongahela at the mouth of the Youghiogheny (present day McKeesport).

After completing his mission, and narrowly avoiding an untimely demise on several occasions, Washington struggled to John Fraser’s trading post at the mouth of Turtle Creek (present-day Braddock) only to hear word that the ancient Seneca queen was angry that he had bypassed her on the first leg of his trip. After taking some time to recover from his journey, the young major took a side trip to the mouth of the Yough to pay tribute to Aliquippa. His journal entry of the visit was short and to the point, “I made her a Present of a Match Coat; & a Bottle of rum, which was thought much the better present of the two.” Washington could never have imagined that this tongue-in-cheek comment would eventually be immortalized in song and would be the best remembered event of Aliquippa’s life.

Washington and Aliquippa crossed paths again only six months later when he was under siege at Ft. Necessity. Aliquippa and her son, Kanuksusy, were among the Indians who traveled to the Great Meadows to hole up with Washington’s small troop at the fort. It was here that a more telling incident of Washington’s opinion of Aliquippa occurred. Washington, now a militia lieutenant colonel, wanted to hold a small  ceremony honoring the queen for her loyalty and service to the British cause. Begging ill health, Aliquippa asked that her son be honored in her place. Washington agreed, and the ceremony went on. As part of the event, Kanuksusy was given the English name Colonel Fairfax, after one of Washington’s Virginia benefactors.

After the fall of Ft. Necessity on July 4, Aliquippa and the remainder of her clan moved on to the homestead of frontier
trader George Croghan. The homestead, called Augswich (present day Shirleysburg, Huntingdon County), was where the tired Seneca leader, then probably over 80 years old, lived out her last few months. On December 23, 1754, Croghan’s blunt journal entry records her passing, “Alequeapy, ye old quine is dead.”

Gone was a woman who left her mark on the landscape of  western Pennsylvania, both figuratively and literally. Her courage and strength of commitment to the British cause were passed on to her son, who was later decorated by the Pennsylvania Provincial Council for his bravery during Braddock’s defeat; and many other members of the Seneca tribe in the region as well. Due in large part to their loyalty, the British were able to wrest control of the continent from the French. With her obvious influence among the tribes of this area, and her unwavering support of the colonists, Aliquippa undoubtedly contributed in some measure to their victory.

In a more measurable sense, Aliquippa’s presence can still be seen today on any map of western Pennsylvania. Of course
the city of Aliquippa was named for her (although, contrary to popular opinion, she probably never lived where it is located) as were several other areas near Augswich, where she died. These include Alliquippa’s Ridge and Alliquippa’s Gap. Maps from the early 1700s also refer to Chartiers Creek as Allaquippa’s Creek, and Brunots Island as Allaquippa’s Island.

The fact that these many places were named for her fittingly points out what may have been the two defining characteristics of her life. The first was the wanderlust that led her to travel with her tribe across the rugged Allegheny Mountains and then to move them from one site to another across the region. The second was the esteem in which she was held by her peers, both Iroquois and European. Tagging each of these locations with her name speaks volumes about the influence of this ancient Seneca woman, about whom so little else is known.

**** From many documented sources, it is seen clearly that Eugene Strong, and the Mound Society of Western Pennsylvania is involved in fraud by changing and re-writing the history of the land about these mounds, in order to write the Haudenosaunee people out of the history of the land, something that many Iroquoian peoples have had enough of. I am sure that something will be done soon to put a stop to the cultural misappropriation of our sacred sites.

George Washington Map showing Logstown, Aliquippas Town, and Mingo Town
George Washington Map showing Logstown, Aliquippas Town, and Mingo Town
McKees Rock Mound Marker
McKees Rock Mound Marker
McKees Rock mounds
McKees Rock mounds

Big Bucks, Tax-Exempt Real Estate to be Made by Using Dead Indians in Sham

By Jacqueline S. Homan, author: Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right

When Eugene Strong claimed that he was trying to force Carnegie Museum to return the human remains and funerary artifacts that they currently hold in their custody that had been excavated over a hundred years ago from the McKees Rocks Mounds, Eugene told the Post-Gazette reporter Anya Sostek that his grandfather was Potawatomi.[1]

In another article, he said he was 1/8th Ojibwe.[2] He says that gives him the right to gain control/ownership of the mounds and get custody of his ancestors’ remains.

The problem is that those mounds do not contain his ancestors. (One way to tell whose ancestors they are is to do DNA tests on members of the Native American community of closest cultural affiliation.)

Strong also previously told news reporters that he is working through the Gun Lake Potawatomi tribe in Michigan — a tribe that only recently got federal recognition and which had amassed quite a bit of money within a short time of their recognition, enabling them to move forward with a lucrative casino project. OK, fine. No one begrudges Indians anything, or at least they shouldn’t. After a century of dishonor that followed the cruel invasion of Columbus’s merry band of opportunistic social predators, sadists, and rapists, no one who is any sort of a decent human being should begrudge Native Americans a couple of casinos if that’s what they want.

But should the public allow non-Natives to grab money, grants, and other benefits specifically earmarked for Native Americans who truly need it while Native elders, women and children languish in Third World poverty on reservations? What kind of individual, or group, thinks it’s OK to take limited resources away from poor women and children?

The Gun Lake tribe has not confirmed that Eugene Strong is one of its members, nor any sort of spokesperson on their behalf acting on their authority. Had the Post-Gazette done some cursory checks into Strong’s background, they would have seen that Eugene Strong lied about his lineage. Had they done their homework, they would have also seen that having Native lineage is not a prerequisite for being accepted into a Native community. Maybe then they would have done some real investigative reporting.

Knowing Eugene Strong’s age from his Facebook profile and personal conversations as well as what was stated in previous news articles about his annual “March for the Ancestors” at the McKees Rocks mounds, his cell phone number, and where he lived was enough to get an accurate dossier from Intellius on this guy — which anyone can obtain on any US resident if they want to make sure that they’re not going on a long road trip to an AIM pow-wow with an axe murderer.

Now, the exhaustive information listed on a full background Intellius report was enough to get a running start on tracing Strong’ genealogy through or any other credible genealogy sites. Starting with the fact that Eugene Strong’s son, Eugene F. Strong III, died under suspicious circumstances in 2010, this tells us that the Eugene Strong of the McKees Rocks mounds is really Eugene F. Strong II (or Eugene F. Strong, Jr.).

Scouring the newspaper archives for Indiana County, PA where Strong is originally from, several newsworthy items show up for him and his family (all of which are public record) — his maternal great-grandparents’ lavish 50th wedding anniversary[3]; his own birth[4]; the funeral notice for his paternal grandfather Ernest W. Strong who was a WW I veteran[5]; Eugene’s 10th birthday celebration on the Ricky and Copper program on WTAE Channel 4[6]; a car accident involving his mother and her parents, himself, and his siblings[7], and another car accident in which Eugene was the 18 year-old driver.[8]

Although the subject of blood quantum is a very contentious issue, examining one’s genealogy because they’re making a claim in order to get federal grant monies, ownership of an ancient burial ground through cash donations through a “non-profit” organization, and custody of Native human remains and funerary artifacts helps weed out the frauds and shysters. And lately, there has been an epidemic of frauds and charlatans misappropriating Native people’s culture for profit.

Since the linchpin of Eugene Strong’s goals for the McKees Rocks mound and getting custody of ancient Native remains from Carnegie Museum rests on Strong’s claim of Native blood through a Native grandfather born on a reservation, checking out Strong’s background and genealogy is quite relevant.

In the US, tribal enrollment requirements vary from tribe to tribe. Tribal enrollment criteria are set forth in tribal constitutions, articles of incorporation, or ordinances. Since the criteria vary, uniform membership requirements and acknowledgment of “who is Native American” don’t really exist. But two common requirements for membership are lineal descent from someone on that tribe’s base roll or relationship to a tribal member who descended from someone on that base roll.[9]

Many US tribes’ enrollments are based on blood quantum (except in cases where a non-Native person is formally adopted into the tribe), and the amount of blood quantum varies with some requiring 1/16th as their minimum, such as the Eastern Cherokee; while others require as much as ½ such as the Mississippi Band of Choctaws. Blood quantum refers to the degree of Native ancestry for an individual of a specific racial or ethnic group. Many tribes don’t impose a blood quantum as condition of membership but that does not mean that they let just anyone enroll. Usually, applicants seeking membership must still prove they’re direct descendents of original tribal enrollees.

And just because a particular tribe may accept you for membership, or adopt you formally into their fold, that won’t automatically make you eligible for certain US federal programs, benefits, and money. Most US federal programs designed to benefit Native Americans do require a minimum blood quantum in order to be eligible for services, including grant monies.

Since Strong claims he is Potawatomi because his grandfather was Potawatomi and born on an Indian reservation, using the information available to the public made it quite easy to trace his genealogy to his great-grandparents — none whom are listed in any official records as having any Native blood. And tracing them wasn’t difficult considering that Strong is from a small, rural southwestern coal mining town and grew up in Homer City — a town of 1,844 in the heart of Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

Tiny hamlets like Homer City that dot Indiana County’s landscape are the kind of small towns where everybody knows everybody else’s business and unlike a big city, the chances of there being people with the same exact names and birthdates and spouses (as shown in old censuses) are slim to none. So, assuming that Eugene Strong isn’t using a stolen identity, and assuming that the available historical data, including old newspapers and military records, are accurate; the genealogical records for both of Strong’s grandfathers and all four of his great-grandfathers are as follows:

Eugene F. Strong II’s paternal grandfather, Ernest Walton Strong (aka Ernest W. Strong) who was born in Kansas in 1891 to Albert and Clara Strong (née Brengle).[10] Albert Strong was the son of a German immigrant father and Scots-Irish mother. Clara was born to a pioneer couple in Indiana in 1869-70. Clara’s father was Richard Logan Brengle (aka Richard L. Brengle), a Civil War veteran[11] and a minister born in 1835 Kentucky and Mary A. Brengle (née Vermillion) who was born around 1835 in Illinois.[12] The Brengles were listed as “white” as were their children[13], and so were the Strongs.

Ernest Strong’s birth date, birth place, and race (“white”) listed in the 1900 US Census and in the US 1910 Census match his WW I draft registration card. Sometime after the end of WW I, Ernest Strong met and married Goldie Clawson (born about 1902, died in 1975)[14], daughter of Sarah Mae Clawson (née Greer) and Jonathon Clawson (all whom are “white”)[15]. Ernest Strong and his wife Goldie raised a family in Lucerne Mines, Indiana County, Pennsylvania and achieved the American Dream.

When Ernest Strong died at age 86, the Indiana Evening Gazette and the rest of the community bid a fond farewell to the decorated WWI veteran, mining company employee, preacher and magistrate. He had lived a full life and experienced many things. But being a Potawatomi Indian born on a Michigan reservation was not one of them. So that rules out Eugene Strong’s paternal grandfather.

Going back to the beginning with the newspaper archives starting with his maternal grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary; we see that this was a pretty expensive soirée according to the write-up in the Indiana Post-Gazette which described this lavish celebration as a “party for about 100 guests that was held in the daughter’s home.”

To be able to accommodate 100 guests, all in formal attire, presents and food galore, you would need a mansion. Eugene is named as one of the great-grandchildren who presented the great-grandmother with her corsage. From the looks of the old newspaper photo accompanying the article, this shindig was no casual affair. Cross-referencing the names of the couple and their adult children through the old census records and the Social Security Death Index, we find that the “Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Smith” listed in the write-up on this fancy party were Eugene Strong’s maternal grandparents — Robert Lee Smith (aka Robert L. Smith) originally from Michigan and Viola “Betty” Smith (née Snyder) from Pennsylvania.

Since Eugene’s grandfather Strong wasn’t the Potawatomi (or Ojibwe) Indian born on a Michigan reservation, we now turn our attention to his grandfather Smith.

Robert L. Smith was born in 1889 in Marine City, St. Clair County, Michigan[16] to Ellen Clara Raymond (born in 1867 in New Baltimore, Michigan and died in 1940 in Mount Clemens, Macomb County, Michigan[17]) and her husband Robert Abel Smith — all whom are listed as “white”.[18] According to the Michigan state government’s database, there are no Indian reservations in either Saint Clair County or Macomb County. So, if Eugene’s grandfather Smith was born in Saint Clair County, he was not born on an Indian reservation.

The 1930 US Census show Eugene’s grandfather Smith as married to his second wife, Viola, who was born Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Robert. L. Smith and his wife Viola and their children are all listed as “white.” At some point the Smiths moved to Viola’s home state, Pennsylvania and Robert Lee Smith died in Homer City, Indiana County in 1970. It was one of their daughters who married Eugene Strong’s father, Eugene Strong, Sr. All of this rules out Eugene’s grandfather Smith as being the Potawatomi Indian born on a Michigan reservation.

Although the issues of race, gender, and socio-economic class converge in ways to perpetuate and support an entire system of unearned privileges (white privilege, male privilege, and middle class privilege) that gave rise to many mixed race people “passing as white” if they looked European enough to pull it off, there is no way to prove for certain that Eugene’s grandparents or great-grandparents were part Native.

Even if one of his great-grandparents was part Native, that still does not square with the fact that Eugene lied by claiming that his grandfather was Potawatomi and born on a reservation when all available public records indicate otherwise.

The issue here is that someone publicly claiming they’re something that they’re not as part of an elaborate ruse to get his hands on federal monies intended to benefit Native people who really need it.

The issue is about a “non-profit” organization whose director is asking for the public to donate money to his group so that he can buy 5+ acres of borough-owned land and capitalize off of its Native cultural significance.

It’s really sad that so many people out there fortunate enough to have good jobs and money to throw around prefer to donate to charities and non-profits (which only seem to exist to provide cushy jobs and cash flows for high-level executives and administrators from the middle class), that take up trendy causes while real individuals in desperate need go without.

A common sentiment among many in the Native community is that the comfortably off would rather spend money for museums to warehouse empty cradle boards while living Native women and children suffer in grueling Third World poverty on isolated reserves with contaminated soil and drinking water — complete with untreated maladies such as permanently disabling conditions stemming from malnourishment and untreated helminth infections caused by parasitic worms; marginalized and excluded on the perimeters of society and then told that if they’re not making it, it’s their own fault.

Not counting the Intellius background report, the genealogical research on Eugene Strong includes 48 different historical records — none of which supports his claim. So either all those records are wrong, or Eugene Strong is wrong.

The info section on his Facebook page under the part “About Eugene” states “YOU CANNOT BUY SACRED!” Yet, he is openly soliciting money from an unsuspecting public at large to do just that. He also stated on his Facebook page in the info section that he is Potawatomi, and his grandfather was Potawatomi — which has not been proven to be true.

What is proven to be true is that Strong is trying to capitalize off of a Native American burial site through attempts to get federal grant money earmarked only for Native Americans and cash donations from the public at large in order to get 5+ acres (or more) of land sitting on an ancient Native burial mound plus a nice cash stream for himself and the non-Native people on the executive board of his “non-profit” group — including Mark Gruber, the former anthropology professor and ex-priest fired from St. Vincent College for using his office’s computer to “create and download pornography[19] of young men, some who may have been underage boys.

The McKees Rocks borough just granted Strong a permit to hold his “March for the Ancestors” (his Walkathon for money) again on September 17th and 18th, 2011. Giving Eugene Strong and his group a permit to march is effectively giving them permission to use the public square to bolster their scam. Why should we be forced to give shysters a platform to aid in their fraudulent designs?

Last year, he paraded his dead son’s ashes as part of his ploy at his 2010 “March For the Ancestors.” He told news reporters that “he and his group plan to apply for federal grants to pursue their cause”, which is to buy the borough-owned portion of the mounds which was valued at $267,400 according to an Allegheny County property assessment website and much of that land is vacant.[20]

How about this for a reality check: Civil and decent people don’t pimp their dead child’s cremated remains in an attention-whoring scheme to “steal the sacred” by misappropriating one Native community’s culture in order to hijack another Native community’s burial ground for a bargain basement price — using other people’s money to boot — all in order to make a buck by erecting a tourist center and charging admission fees, while violating NAGPRA protocols and federal laws for repatriation and protection of Native burial grounds.

That’s not “honoring” anyone’s ancestors or “saving” anything. It’s capitalizing off of dead Indians at the expense of their living descendents, and the public at large that is being scammed into donating money during these tough economic times towards Eugene Strong’s shambolic venture.

Anyone supporting Eugene Strong in this endeavor apparently doesn’t know the meaning of the word “integrity”, much less have any themselves.

If Strong really, truly cared about “honoring the ancestors” in the McKees Rocks mounds, why is he fighting so hard to silence the voices in the closest culturally affiliated Native community?

Why is he bypassing the appropriate authorities and chain of command in that community and thumbing his nose at NAGPRA regulations?

Why did he and his buddies tell a real Indian, a Bear Clan Mohawk named Nikki Maracle who is traditional Longhouse, that she is “misguided” and doesn’t know her own people’s history?

Is this how someone “honors the ancestors” — by cutting out their descendents and denying them a voice at the table, and violating protocols despite repeated requests from Native people who have asked Strong to step aside and let them handle it?

Are Indian graveyards and empty cradle boards on display in tourist centers more important than real, living, breathing, thinking, feeling Native people?

One of the best ways to “honor the ancestors” is to have some consideration for their Native descendents today. Eugene Strong has not done this, and neither have those who are supporting him and his “non-profit” organization, the Mounds Society of Western Pennsylvania.

[1] “Ancient Indian Burial Mound in the Rocks?”, by Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Saturday August 7th 2010

[2] “Group honors, hopes to reclaim McKees Rocks burial grounds”, by Matthew Santoni, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Wednesday September 22nd 2010

[3] Indiana Evening Gazette, October 11th 1952 — “Mr. and Mrs. William F. Snyder celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on September 28th. They were the guests of honor at a party given for them by their son and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Smith of Homer City. The party for about 100 guests was held in the daughter’s home. Mr. and Mrs. Snyder have two children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. The anniversary cake was from their son and daughter, and Mrs. Snyder’s corsage was from her two great-grandchildren, Christine Strong and Eugene Strong II. The honored couple received many beautiful gifts.”

[4] Indiana Evening Gazette, December 29th 1951

[5] Indiana Evening Gazette, March 6th, 1978 — “Ernest W. Strong, 86, died Saturday March 4th 1978 in Cameron Manor. He was born on June 11th, 1891 in Kansas. Mr. Strong was a member of UMWA Local 488, Lucerne Mines, a justice of the peace in Center Twp., a minister of the Church of God and a Merchant Marines veteran of WW I. Surviving are two sons: Eugene and Leroy, both of Lucerne Mines; one sister, Marie Kiley of Sorona, Calif.; 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Goldie; two sons: Leonard, who died in WW II, and Harvey. Friends will be received from 2-4 and 7-9 PM today in the Richard T. Bell Funeral Home, Indiana, where services will be held Tuesday at 1 PM. Chris W. Royer will officiate with interment in the Greenwood Cemetery, Indiana.”

[6] Indiana Evening Gazette, November 28th, 1961 — “Eugene Strong will celebrate his tenth birthday on the Ricky and Copper program on WTAE Channel 4 on December 22nd at 9:30 AM. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs., Eugene Strong of Homer City, R.D. 2.”

[7] “Yesterdaze”, Indiana Evening Gazette, Friday, September 1st, 1972:  “1962 — Spooner, Wisc. — A family of eight from Homer city, PA were involved in an automobile accident here this weekend when their stationwagon and house trailer plunged off Route 52 and rolled down an embankment. En route from Alaska, the travelers all received injuries. They were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith and their daughter, Mrs. Thelma Strong and her children Christine, Eugene, Shawn, Thelma, and Robin.”

[8] Indiana Evening Gazette, Monday, August 31st 1970 — “Three young men remain in Indiana Hospital today where they are being treated for injuries in a one-car wreck at 11 PM Saturday on S. Sixth St., three miles south of Indiana. State police identified the driver as Eugene F. Strong II, 18, of Homer City R.D. 2. Also injured were two passengers, Dennis Rostis, 18, of Homer City, and George Kalaus, 19, of Homer City.”

[10] US 1900 Census — Nickerson, Reno, Kansas; Roll: T623_496; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 196

[11] 70th Infantry Regiment, Illinois; Muster Date: October 23rd 1862;  Source: The Union Army vol.3

[12] 1870 US Census for Sugar Ridge, Clay County, Indiana

[13] 1880 US Census — Stanford, Clay County, Illinois; Roll: 182; Family History Film: 1254182; Page: 370B; Enumeration District: 154; Image: 0164

[14] Social Security Death Index

[15] 1920 US Census — Black Lick, Indiana County, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1573; Page 3A; Enumeration District: 89

[16] 1900 US Census — Marine City Ward 1, Saint Clair County, Michigan; Roll: T623_741; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 90

[17] Social Security Death Index

[18] 1920 US Census — Mount Clemens, Macomb County, Michigan; Roll: T625_781; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 74

[19] “Lawyer: priest admitted creating pornography”, by Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tuesday November 19th 2010

Another Charlatan Exposed: Eugene Strong and the McKees Rocks Mounds

By Jacqueline S. Homan, author of Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right

Eugene Strong, Detroit Canoe Crossing and pow-wow on August 19, 2011
Eugene Strong, Detroit Canoe Crossing and pow-wow on August 19, 2011

There have always been charlatans claiming to be someone they’re not — from Anna Anderson, the pretender who claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas whose entire family was shot by the Red Army contingent in the Ural Mountains hamlet of Yekaterinburg during the October Revolution in 1917 Russia, to all of the phonies claiming to be taught by Native American medicine men and spiritual leaders like James A. Ray, the self-proclaimed New Age guru who charged thousands of dollars for a sweat lodge ceremony that resulted in three deaths.

While some of these frauds do what they do for financial gain, others do it for status. One such charlatan is 60 year-old Eugene Strong of Clinton, Pennsylvania, a tiny hamlet nestled in the hills of Allegheny County in the Appalachian region of Western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh.

Eugene Strong will tell anyone with an ear that he is the grandson of a Potawatomi man born on a Michigan reservation and that he speaks for his Potawatomi ancestors in his fight to secure the McKees Rocks burial mounds. With his freckled face and arms, piercing blue eyes and long reddish-gray hair, he looks more like a burned out, washed up old hippie who got wasted away again in Margaritaville.

Strong adamantly insists that he was spiritually appointed to protect an ancient Algonquin burial mound in McKees Rocks. He is the director of the non-profit organization he founded, the Mounds Society of Western Pennsylvania, which he incorporated in 2006 with help from the legal clinic at the Duquesne University School of Law.  The executive board of his group includes a well-heeled journalist, Cecelia Clarke, and Reverend Mark Gruber, a former anthropology professor from St. Vincent College. Clarke and Gruber compiled a 67-page book titled McKees Rocks Mounds Rising, with pending copyright, that they’re claiming is accurate. Except there’s a problem — theirs is a revisionist history. When Strong was confronted with that fact, he and his organization refused to retract their revisionist claims asserted in their book. There is a lot at stake regarding the McKees Rocks mounds, which is the largest ancient Native American burial mound in the US.

In an August 2010 Post-Gazette article, Strong claims his altruistic intent concerning the mounds, saying that he only seeks to “honor the ancestors” of the Native American community that once flourished there, and to preserve Algonquin cultural heritage. Strong’s protest march outside the Carnegie Museum of Natural History catapulted him into the media spotlight when he demanded the repatriation of the ancient aboriginal skeletal remains that were unearthed in an excavation of the McKees Rocks mounds in 1896. Regional archeologist Mark Conaughy with the State Museum Commission said “it certainly is of significance” and posited that the mound was used as a burial site for important people in the Adena society, as well as for later burials for the Hopewell and Monongahela tribes. [The Monongahela were part of the Erie confederacy, a maize culture just like the Iroquois and eventually they became part of the Iroquois.]

But there are two problems. One is in the misleading classification of Native sacred sites, which serves to prevent the descendants’ tribes from making a repatriation claim (addressed further on in this article) and the second is that Eugene Strong is deliberately going about repatriation attempts all wrong — despite having been previously told several times what the proper channels and protocols are, with the full blessing and backing of those on the executive board of his non-profit group, including Cecelia Clarke and Mark Gruber who compiled the revisionist history in McKees Rocks Mounds Rising. The reason he stubbornly persists is because he wants to buy the mounds, and he has stated so.

US federal law specifies museums must work with tribal governments, not individuals, on repatriation issues. Dr. Sherry Hutt, national program manager for the Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act says that “unclaimed items” not tied to a specific tribe, or confederacy of tribes, are available an online database to tribes that might want to make a claim for funerary objects and human remains. If a museum determines that a tribe requesting these things is indeed “culturally affiliated”, then the museum will cooperate with the transfer of ownership.

Carnegie Museum spokeswoman, Leigh Kish, says that Eugene Strong was told he is going about the repatriation attempts all wrong: “For the museum to be in compliance with federal regulations, we have to have a formal written request from a tribe recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs before we can even begin to review it.”

Initiating valid repatriation claims are difficult enough as it is for tribes meeting all of those requirements who have ancestral ties to ancient remains and sacred sites. Pretenders only worsen the situation.

Strong, who claims Potawatomi heritage and who claims to know Native history saying that he is guided by Mediwin and Potowatomi medicine men and spirituality teachers and elders, told Anya Sostek of the Post-Gazette last year that he had only recently learned about the proper procedure for making a repatriation request and that he is working with the Potawatomi tribe at the Gun Lake reserve in Michigan to procure repatriation.

The Iroquois, particularly the Seneca originally from that region, would be the ones to contact regarding matters of stewardship of the McKees Rocks mounds, and they are not inclined towards buying the mounds because you cannot buy or sell sacred.

The McKees Rocks mounds would unquestionably be in safekeeping in Iroquois hands, and if Eugene Strong was truly part Native American and truly plugged into his Potawatomi heritage and teachings as he claims he is, then he would know all this and the last thing he’d be doing is running to AIM pow-wows, wearing his “traditions” on his sleeve like a fashion accessory, in an attempt to get publicity backing from AIM as well as the benefit of AIM’s notoriously militant muscle to support his agenda.

And what precisely is Eugene Strong’s agenda? He insists it is to protect the McKees Rocks mound. But if that were true, why would he rudely tell Nikki Maracle — a well-respected Bear Clan Mohawk from Akwesasne, and a traditional Longhouse — that he refuses to step aside and let the proper people (Iroquois) look after these issues? Is that how one protects a sacred site and honors the ancestors?

The Seneca that once lived in that region had to be relocated to Salamanca, New York after their reserve in western Pennsylvania was flooded and taken by eminent domain for the construction of the Kinzua Dam. They are the closest “culturally affiliated” and federally recognized tribe that would be the ones connected with the McKees Rocks Mounds. The Seneca are Iroquoian.

If Strong is genuinely following a path of Native tradition as he claims to be, why would he stubbornly insist that the McKees Rocks mounds are Algonquin mounds even after being told by several credible people that those mounds are Iroquoian? If the objective is to protect them, why do this?

Strong, with the help of his cohorts Cecelia Clarke and Mark Gruber, is peddling a false history that cites the mounds as Algonquin. The mounds are described in his book as being 5,000 years old with a tumulus (the top part of the mound) that was constructed “by Adena people who first settled the Ohio Valley around 1000 BC” — approximately 3,000 years ago. The book’s forward states that archeologists, including Richard Lang of the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, agree that a village adjacent to the mounds was flourishing by 3000 BC. That date, according to the book’s authors, was based on the recovery of stone tools and vessel fragments that were “made by people of the Archaic, or pre-ceramic era.”

The first red flag is in the book’s foreword by a member of Strong’s motley crew, Mark Gruber, the kiddie porn-indulging priest and fired professor turned Native rights activist. Gruber refers to the mound builders as “Adena people.” Maybe if he had used that college computer for actual Native American research instead of satisfying his penchant for pedophilia he might have learned something.

The use of names “Hopewell”, “Point Peninsula”, “Meadowood”, “Adena” and other archeological designations are often used to conceal the true identity of ancient burial mound builders because the archeology community decided over a hundred years ago not to denote tribal affiliations of mound builders in their reports. This practice, among others, allowed universities and museums to skirt the Native American Graves Protection Act that only protects burial sites of “known tribes.”

Because of this loophole, countless human skeletal remains and ancient funerary items remain in boxes — literally held hostage by universities, which are not going to divest their shelves and storage facilities of these items and admit that they had thousands of Sioux or Iroquois skeletons in their closets along with sacred funerary objects in their possession. As long as mounds are designated “Adena” (or “Hopewell”, etc,) they will continue to dig, justifying doing so in the name of “scholarly research.” The idea that invasive activities might be offensive to aboriginal communities that were nearly wiped out by genocide in the name of Manifest Destiny floated right over the heads of those who serve on the Mound Society’s board; those who compiled this book which Eugene Strong holds as a gospel truth. This book calls for further archeological digging and research at the McKees Rocks mound. Amazingly, invasive archeological and anthropological “research” activities fail to bother the “traditional” Potawatomi that Strong claims to be.

According to Fritz Zimmerman, author of A Photographical Essay and Guide to the Adena, Hopewell, Sioux and Iroquois Mounds and Earthworks, the word “Sioux” was an Algonquin word meaning “snakes” — which some say is a derogatory word for Iroquoian people (like the Erie Neutrals).

But whether the word “Sioux” is derogatory or not is questionable because Iroquois people have a tradition, a set of teachings known as “snake medicine”, which made them very special because many other Native American tribes feared snakes whereas the Iroquois learned a lot by observing them. So the snake medicine of Iroquois people is, unsurprisingly, included in the expressions of some of their sacred sites and burial mounds — the Snake Mound in Toronto’s High Park and the Serpent Mound in Ohio are two examples. [The Serpent Mounds in Ohio were built by the ancestors of the Erie Neutrals.]

Zimmerman also notes that linguists have made a connection between the Sioux, Cherokee, and Iroquois languages. All three of these nations’ oral histories also say they are from the northeast through the mid-Atlantic regions. Tool kits and burial practices were very similar between the early Sioux and Iroquois. Richard Maracle, a Bear Clan Mohawk chief, once said that at one time “the Longhouse was everywhere” — meaning that the roof was the sky, the floor was the earth, the eastern doorway was the Atlantic Ocean and the western doorway was the Pacific.

The Cherokee, Sioux, and Iroquoian languages are all part of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic family, which included the peoples living in most of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, the mid-Atlantic states, and part of Ontario, Canada. Many of the nations that are part of this same Hokan-Siouan linguistic family have also participated in burial mound building at one time or another in their history. And that includes the Monongahela, who populated southwestern Pennsylvania and who were absorbed by the Iroquois, their sister society, long before the first Europeans met the first Haudenosaunee.

The Monongahela region in western Pennsylvania was known by George Washington and several others to be inhabited by Seneca and Seneca/Mingo people, which included Queen Aliquippa, her father and her husband. Strong’s book lists her as a Lenape Clan mother and leader. The Lenape, Delaware, and Shawnee were Algonquin. They didn’t have clan mothers and they didn’t have burial mounds. This establishes that the McKees Rocks mounds were built by Iroquoians — not the Algonquins, who were always known to be nomadic. Oh my, what a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to deceive!

The linguistic family analysis, which is supported by oral traditions of many nations, buttressed by the journal entries of George Washington and other British colonial militia men, all points to the nations of the Hokan-Siouan language family as being the very same nations who were the ancient mound builders. This entirely leaves out those nations of the Algonquin language family as mound builders — Algonquin nations such as the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Odawa, Delaware, and Lenape (whom Eugene Strong insists Queen Aliquippa is from).

The second red flag is in the final paragraph of the foreword in McKees Rocks Mounds Rising which says that one of the goals and objectives of Eugene Strong’s Mound Society is to “present the mounds as worthy of 21st century archeological investigation.”

Given the not-so-great track record of the archeology industry, it is very hard to believe that someone claiming to be very committed to Potawatomi traditions, beliefs, and practices would be eager for further invasion by archeologists concerning this very special burial site. The archeology profession, like the anthropology profession, has given itself more than one black eye in its dealings with a threatened aboriginal culture — a culture that a remnant of North American indigenous holocaust survivors are struggling to retain in the face of racially motivated hatred centered on notions of racial inferiority.

So what motivates Eugene Strong to cling to a revisionist history of the McKees Rocks Mounds where his ultimate goal is to buy the mounds from the borough and the oil company that owns it?

The answer lies in examining the common personality traits of pretenders like Anna Anderson, James A. Ray, and all of the board members with undesirable backgrounds serving on the Mound Society of Western Pennsylvania who arrogantly insist that the Iroquois don’t know their own history. If Eugene Strong were given an Indian name, a fitting one might be Otah Oswegai:yo — a bird so full of crap it that it cannot fly.

Another Charlatan Exposed: Eugene Strong and the McKees Rocks Mounds

This is a follow-up report on Eugene Strong and the Mounds at McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania

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