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SUMAC Enterprises

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SUMAC Enterprises' mission is to open the minds of children and adults to wonders and tragedies in U.S. history, the tradition of verbal arts, the hope found in intercultural exchanges, and the spirit and science of ecological responsibility. 

               The father-and-son team of Fred and Ross Shaw developed SUMAC Enterprises   
               to stimulate others for a life-long curiosity and commitment to learning through
               living history experiences and personal historical narratives.  They are Ohio Shawnee
               in heritage and exemplify the reality of American Indian people who have a strong
               sense of history, but are very much part of the 21st Century.
               Both are recognized as dedicated historians who are exceptional storytellers and
               educators.  Together, they have over sixty years of experience in public speaking
               and living history events.

Fred and Ross--individually or as a team--present programs for schools, universities and graduate schools, libraries, churches, synagogues, historical societies, conservation groups, zoos, government agencies, Scouts, State and National Parks, and corporations.

The following programs are offered.  Others can be developed according to your needs.
  • Stories Old Upon the Land:  Traditional Shawnee stories and cultural interpretation including clothing, foods, arts, music, and an approach to the environment as a circle.               
  • Cowboy Culture:  Tools and clothing of the trade, tall tales, and songs of the trail.
  • The Life of a Longhunter:  18th Century frontier living including clothing, weapons, tools, and society.
  • Mounted Warriors: Shawnee and Government cavalry from the Revolutionary War up to the transition to mechanization.
  • Religion on the Frontier:  A different character interprets each era from 1776 through 1890. 
  • When Indians Are Cowboys:  The life of a Shawnee Indian rancher in 1879.
  • Monuments Man:  How a small band of art experts saved the treasures of Europe during WWII.
  • Roy Rogers:  Personal appearance tour with life history, songs, and exhibitions of marksmanship and horsemanship.  (Trigger can stay at home if you wish.)
  • Judge Soy Bean:   The Judge is a parody of Judge Roy Bean.  He is the best law you can buy east of the Pecos.  ROY was infatuated with Lillie Langtry, a famous actress and singer of his day.  He named his saloon for her nickname, The Jersey Lily.  SOY is captivated by Lou Lou Hangtree.  Her nickname is the Guernsey Iris, and so is his saloon.  
  • Life Lived in the Circle:  Spiritual ecology and conservation.
SUMAC programs are adaptable to your particular goals.  All details, including
accoutrements and clothing, of the presentations have been carefully researched and documented.
Honoraria and travel expenses are negotiated at the time of the contract.



Neeake in the midst of a story


   Be transported back in time through the mysterious power of stories to learn of a vibrant culture still among us.  Internationally acclaimed storyteller, Neeake, is an Olammapise (Truth Teller) of the Shawanoese (Shawnee).  He holds the ancient and modern stories of his people as a sacred trust that expresses the balance of all life and the gift that each life is to the other.  They are bibadinsawawachitah, the proper way to walk upon the earth--harmony and beauty.
   Neeake has been sharing the stories of his people since 1971. The stories are an oral tradition handed down from one generation to the next for centuries. The stories include history, music, humor, cultural perspectives, words as art, sociology, and ecology.



The stories touch all of the disciplines of education and are a powerful way to share the insights of the connected circle that is life with children and adults.   Neeake presents storytelling programs, living history events, storytelling festivals, and storytelling workshops across the United States.   Advance planning is required for extensive travel.


A typical program of traditional stories and music is 60 to 90 minutes with time for questions. Neeake dresses in the traditional Shawnee attire of 1780 with the accoutrements of a man of peace.  He brings everything necessary for the program to your site except an amplification system.  If one is needed, please provide a lapel microphone.  Audience sizes may range from 20 to thousands.  Fees and expenses are set at the time of the contract.


The Shaws include many fine Indigenous interpreters among their friends and can arrange for a group interpretive program such as this fine array at Sharon Woods.  


Alonzo G. Drake, Shawnee rancher on the town

     American Indians endured many "Trails of Tears" during the removals from traditional lands.  The Shawnee were officially removed from Ohio in 1832 traveling first to Missouri then to Kansas and finally to Indian Territory.  They adapted to their new place.  Many became ranchers and cowhands. 

     Alonzo G. Drake - Lon to his friends, Drake to his people, and "Boss" to everyone else -is a successful Shawnee rancher circa 1880.  A former scout for the cavalry, he has learned the ways of the west although his people came from Ohio.  Lon shares the stories of the rangeland, teaches you what you'll need to know to work on his spread, explains the tools of the trade, and how to properly dress for the work. If you're willing to try, he will teach you how to throw a loop.  Along the way, you'll also learn some songs and hear some poetry to keep the cow critters calm when you're on night herd.

     Lon is featured annually at the Old West Festival near Williamsburg, OH, but he can make time to come to your group.

Lon freshening up after the drive to Dodge City

Only coffee for Lon

     People on the frontier had a rough-and-ready faith.  The pastors who shepherded them had to know how to speak to their hearts.  Many pastors were Circuit Riders, assigned to an area that could take as much as six months to cover.  Weddings, baptisms, and even funerals often were put off until the Black Coat made it to the settlement.
     Fred, an ordained United Methodist minister, leads worship services authentic to the period selected.  He can perform legal weddings appropriate to the time period desired.
     Both Fred and Ross have led what has come to be called Cowboy Church in 1865 through 1900.

A lay pastor at work in Dodge City

"Round 'em up; move 'em out!"


      Jacob Stoneburner

top hand and foreman of the Box R Ranch


   In the last half of the nineteenth century, a new American hero was born.  Ex-soldiers, young farm boys bent on adventure, and even European expatriates traveled to the American West to drive herds of cattle from the Southwest to the railheads in Kansas, and sometimes beyond.


   Mr. Shaw comes to your school, church, or other group in full 1880's cowboy gear in the person of Jacob Stoneburner, a top hand on any ranch.  The program involves accounts of life in the American West, with a focus upon the cowhand and law enforcement experiences.


   The program can be tailored to your particular group’s learning goals.  The emphasis can be placed on the cowboy culture, law enforcement on the frontier, cowboy songs, Tall Tales, or a balance of all.  The details can be arranged when the program is booked.  Fees and travel are negotiated at the time of the contract.

  The program can be presented with or without firearms: generally a revolver and a rifle of the time period, though other weapons can be brought as well.  These weapons were legitimate tools of the trade.  Live ammunition never is on the premises.  Firearms safety is stressed.

 Old West Festival, Williamsburg, OH


Mounted troops have been an important part of American history.  Ross Shaw is an adept horseman and is the Sergeant Major of the Indiana Territorial Mounted Rangers, a War of 1812 mounted militia unit that demonstrates cavalry tactics and weapons, including pistol, sword and tomahawk.  Based upon historical fact, Fred portrays an older man in the unit who has taken his son's place so that the son can stay with his family and work the farm.    

Practicing drills at Prophetstown

Shawnee warrior in the War of 1812 - Battle of Mississinewa

Territorial Mounted Rangers riding in the Fair at New Boston, Springfield, OH

Charging with the Allied Scouts - Fair at New Boston

Sword Work - Fair at New Boston


Ross portrays a mounted Shawnee scout for the Union or a Confederate raider under John Hunt Morgan in the Civil War.  He also is a Rough Rider in the Spanish American War and a cavalryman chasing Pancho Villa under General John "Black Jack" Pershing.


Shawnee scout during the Civil War dressed in battlefield scrounge

One of John Hunt Morgan's raiders during the Civil War

We always are developing new interpretations and characters.  Three of the newest are a "Monuments Man" saving art treasures in WWII, Roy Rogers on a personal appearance tour in 1947, and Judge SOY Bean who is a comedic parody of Judge ROY Bean.


The equestrian units can be contracted for your event, or the Shaws can provide a program concerning weapons, horse gear, tactics, and the history of the time without the horses.