Currently, the enrolled citizens of the Vinyard Indian Settlement are involved in numerous community activities that have a motive: buying back our homelands along the Ohio River. It should be noted that many of our citizens and volunteers are on Federal Tribal rolls. There is no discussion of a casino nor do we want one in our homelands. The council meets four times a year in its current headquarters near Herod, Illinois. A five year plan calls for the construction of a number of small ecologically oriented businesses that will provide jobs for both native and non-native citizens. When the council is ready, plans will be made more explicit to the public.

Board of Directors


Board of Directors


Barney Bush, Chairman​

Before returning full time to his Ohio River homelands, poet/educator/activist/patriot, 

Barney Bush wrote about his homelands and the destruction of water, sky, land, forests, animals, people and became published and translated internationally. He has taught in numerous colleges and universities in the U.S. and has a B.A. in Humanities from Ft. Lewis College, Durango Colorado, a Masters of Arts in English/Fine Arts from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, and sixty five hours beyond the Masters.  


From 1989 through 2005, Bush was on contract with nato Records in Paris, France. One of their early works, Left for Dead: Prisoners of the American Dream, was admitted to the list of the “Greatest Experimental Hits in the History of Music.”​ Bush is among the first Indigenous poets admitted to the Society of Artists, Composers and Editors of Music (SACEM), Paris, France.


Barney Bush was inspired to react to the losing of his homelands. He was an organizer of several schools throughout Indian country and helped to create some of the first Native American Studies programs for colleges, high schools, and grade schools in the United States in the 1970s.


Mr. Bush believes that Native peoples’ owning and sharing their own businesses and schools is a primary factor in purchasing back native homelands for future generations.


John David Feazel, Vice Chairman

(bio coming soon)


Christine Wagner, Secretary​​


The daughter of the late Charles (Doc) W. Hicks (Eastern Cherokee) and Mary Lou Flynn Hicks (Shawnee), Christine Hicks Wagner is our secretary of records and a councilwoman.  She graduated from Pope County High School and holds an Associate in Applied Science in Business from Southeastern Illinois College.


Ms. Wagner says:


“A significant part of my contribution to the settlement will be in sharing my art, my work in clay that develops into the images of the spirit I carry. My hands in clay bring breath to my soul, images emerge, faces appear; some I have seen in stones, some are a part of the clay and appear as a gift to my soul. I speak through these images of clay. The breath of ancestors surrounds me and blesses this ability to give voices to these sculptures that will not be stilled. I give my voice to the Vinyard Indian Settlement and work to make it heard throughout the community and beyond. I did not learn the language of my Native ancestors nor ceremony, but I see in our future the re-establishment of the Vinyard Indian Settlement, to study, to teach, to care for our elders, to tell their stories and teach us their knowledge, tradition and ceremonies, arts and dreams. Our culture here is not dead; it has been resting. Waking up is part of an amazing journey.”

Kaytee Wallace, Business Administrator

Kaytee Wallace was born and raised in southern Illinois. She graduated from Harrisburg High School and is currently attending Southeastern Illinois College. She and her husband Trent chose to stay in Southern Illinois to raise their family. 

"We really wanted our children to grow up in this beautiful land. All our ancestors have a story of how they got their place in the world. Being educated about how I came to be is a way of giving credit to the people that worked their whole life to make sure that I had the life I was so blessed to receive. I grew up hearing stories about my heritage and want to pass it on to my children."


Barney Bush
Christine Wagner

VOLUNTEER with the V.I.S.!

The Vinyard Indian Settlement is always looking for a few good men and women to volunteer at the settlement headquarters!  We currently have openings for volunteerships in the following categories:





We are seeking volunteers to help with our annual Reconnection Days to be held from Saturday, September 18th to Sunday, September 19th, 2021 (pending COVID-19 restrictions):

*Food Preparation


Please call the VIS Office Headquarters at (618) 264-5909 for more information!

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