The Mississinewa Battlefield Society announced its decision to cancel the 2024 Mississinewa 1812 event.

In the organization’s original announcement on Thursday, they cited obstacles from the event’s growth and search for a new location as the reason behind the suspension.

“This growth, while a testament to the event’s success, has also presented many obstacles, particularly finding adequate space to accommodate the growing number of guests comfortably and safely,” the original announcement said. “In addition, our organization’s volunteer base faces numerous challenges considering the limitations and varying requirements due to operating on State land and within a flood zone. After much deliberation, the Mississinewa Battlefield Society has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the event this year. Instead, our focus will be directed towards securing a property that can better meet the needs and expectations of our attendees, while matching the abilities of our volunteers.”

On Friday, the organization followed up with a second response due to requests for more detail and transparency. While the first announcement cited space constraints and flooding, in the second response, the Mississinewa Battlefield Society gave more information about the reasons behind the decision.

“The Federal Miami of Oklahoma tribe has made a formal request, with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as the mediator of the conversation/negotiation, to Mississinewa 1812 of the two ultimatums; 1. No Native American presence should be permitted on the battlefield. 2. No Native American reenactor should be permitted to participate in the event in general, unless they are a federally recognized card carrying Native American,” it said.

“While we respect the Federal Tribes, we still remain in defense of the organization’s life long volunteers that may fit into these categories, and in defense of the battle reenactment being the event’s key instrument in providing a multi-sensory experience of history, the organization views these two requests as extreme and non-negotiable,” the response continued. “...In an abundance of caution, the organization has chosen to invest its energy of its current state into procuring a property that has no formal potential risk of politically affiliated pressure, bias or influence.”

The combination of those requirements and other obstacles like restricted ingress and egress, parking constrictions and limited to no cellular data has led to the suspension of the event for 2024.

In addition to seeking property that would fit the organizations needs better, it is seeking a space that would allow the potential for a future expansion of Mississinewa 1812 from an annual three-day event to a living history complex that would allow reenactment experiences seasonally. The attraction the organization aspires to would be similar to Conner Prairie and the Historic Fort of Fort Wayne and would allow broader access to groups like the disabled community, the announcement said.

The Chronicle-Tribune contacted the Mississinewa Battlefield Society with a request for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
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