Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear every other Tuesday.
Farmland can go for $10,000 an acre or more in DeKalb County,
but only once has it fetched the astronomical sum of $69,069
In 2006, the 128-acre farm of Adeline Ward near Shabbona
went for $8.8 million. The Prairie Band Nation of the Potawatomi
Tribe was buying back land that used to be owned by their ancestral
leader Chief Shab-eh-nay, which was given in exchange for the
tribe signing the 1829 Treaty of Prairie du Chien. At that time
the reservation size was 1,280 acres around the Shabbona (altered
spelling of the chiefs name by whites) area.
The tribes announced intention in 2006 was to build
a bingo casino and tribal government center on the land. But
some snags at the federal level and in the economy have kept
the land fallow, some now in native prairie grasses with the
majority leased for crop farming.
All this came to my mind recently when several Prairie
Band Nation tribal council members came up from their Mayetta,
Kansas, reservation for a ceremony rededicating the newly-replaced
historical marker to their legendary chief in what is now the
Shabbona Forest Preserve.
I didnt feel it appropriate on that occasion to ask
them about their future plans concerning the reservation and
casino, so waited until a few days later to call them back in
Kansas. What I received was a prepared statement from Joyce Guerrero,
vice chairperson of the Tribal Council. In it she reiterated
their intention to continue to pursue plans to operate
a facility that would accommodate Class II Bingo on their
The Potawatomi already have negotiated agreements with
the DeKalb County Board, Village of Shabbona and various other
local entities regarding costs and revenue sharing when, and
if, the facility becomes a reality. In addition to that, they
have employed the services of a high powered Washington, D.C.,
lobbying firm, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, which specializes
in promoting and defending tribal rights.
Chief Shabbonas stone marker at his grave in Morris,
IL cemetery, above, and small concrete marker with date 1848
at the Chief Shabbona Forest Preserve historic marker site. That dates significance is unknown but was the
year before the US government took away his lands for resale.
There are also conflicting dates of his death; one is July 17,
1859 and the other July 27, 1859almost exactly 155 years
In third photo Tribal Council members, pose with newly installed
historical marker (Provided photos)