Saturday, November 9, 2002

Woman fined for praying at ancient Indian mound

The Associated Press

NEWARK - A jury convicted a woman of trespassing for praying at an ancient Indian mound located on a private golf course.

Barbara Crandell, 74, who is of Cherokee ancestry, was arrested June 26 at the Octagon Earthworks, built about 1,650 years ago by the Hopewell Indians.

Licking County Municipal Judge Thomas Marcelain fined Ms. Crandell $250. He ordered her to follow rules governing visitation to the mounds, known as the Octagon Earthworks because of their eight-sided shape.

Ms. Crandell believes that as a descendant of the people who built the complex of 8-foot-high Hopewell Indian earthworks, she has a right to be there.

"I'm not guilty," Ms. Crandell said after Thursday's verdict. "That is public land paid for by the taxpayers and it's being used as a playground for the rich."

The complex is owned by the Ohio Historical Society and leased to the private Moundbuilders Country Club. Visitors are supposed to view the site from a wooden stand near the parking lot or from a short trail that borders one side of the course.

Ms. Crandell, of Thornville, was praying on a mound near the 10th fairway.

"She has to follow the rules," said club President Skip Salome. "I hope she'll work with us."

Ms. Crandell pleaded innocent in July to charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.

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