THE KAW NATION
Celebrating and honoring the indigenous people that first called this land home.
This land was once part of the Kanza and Osage homelands. In the early 1800s, the Kanza's domain extended well beyond today's state borders. In 1846, the federal government signed a treaty and, by 1848, had forced the Kanza people onto a twenty-mile-square reservation surrounding Council Grove. About 1,300 people, struggling with disease and starvation, lived in three nearby villages. The Kanza lived here in the Neosho Valley for less than 25 years when, despite an impassioned plea to Congress by Chief Allegawaho in 1873, the US government removed 533 Kanza to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).
The Kanza people's strength, bravery, spirituality, and pride inspire today's citizens to live boldly and proudly in our home. Our school's mascot is The Braves, and we are thankful for the opportunity to make our Kanza and Osage brothers and sisters proud.
Today we celebrate our unique relationship with the Kaw Nation through various historical markers, events, and their sacred Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park.
Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park
Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park is the site of the Last Kaw Indian Village in Kansas prior to the forced removal, 150 years ago, of the tribe to Oklahoma in 1873. Today it is home to restored Interpreter's house ruins, two and one-half-mile walking trail along 11 identified historic locations, including the monument to an unknown Indian. This beautiful 158-acre Kaw Heritage Park is owned and managed by the Kaw Nation from their Oklahoma offices. In 2015, the Kanza dedicated a dance arbor at the park. Intertribal powwow dances are held under the arbor every June, as part of the Washunga Days activities.
Iⁿ'zhúje'waxóbe / The Sacred Red Rock
Photo by : James Pepper Henry
In 2023, or soon thereafter, Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park will become home to the Kaw Nation's Scared Red Rock. The 28-ton quartzite boulder holds deep historical, cultural, and spiritual meaning to the Kaw People. Relocating the rock is ultimately a step toward mending the harm done and creating better relationships with Indigenous communities, as the Kaw Nation is one of many nations that originally inhabited Kansas.
1925 Monument to the "Unknown KanzaWarrior"
The 1925 Monument to the "Unknown Kanza Warrior" is a 35-foot limestone tower that was erected by Council Grove citizens in 1925 as a tribute to the memory of the Kanza's presence in the Council Grove area. It was prompted by the discovery of Native American remains exposed by erosion in a nearby stream bed. The Indian and his possessions were reinterred in the base of the monument in August 1925 during a ceremony attended by many members of the Kaw tribe.
Please note : There are no close-up photos of the Kanza Monument on this site at the request of the Kaw nation.
Kanza Heritage Trail
Photo by : James Pepper Henry
The two-mile-long Kanza Heritage Trail loops through the beautiful and historic 168-acre Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park, owned and managed by the Kaw Nation, a self-governing tribe of more than 3,300 members. Currently based in north-central Oklahoma, the Kaw Nation is actively working to regain its cultural heritage, which was nearly lost when the Tribe was forcibly removed from Kansas in 1873. By walking this Trail, you will engage a wonderful landscape steeped in natural beauty and the rich cultural history of the Kanza people who once lived here. Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the 25 Historic Sites of Council Grove & Morris County.
Stone ruins remain from three of the 138 huts the United States government built as dwellings for the Kanza in 1862. They lived in the stone homes for several years until 1866, when the Kanza left on their winter hunt, the whites stole the doors and windows from the Kaw's stone homes, making them unlivable. A few years later, the Kanza were forced to move to Oklahoma White settlers then lived in these structures until they had homes built. Then the huts served as outbuildings for their farms.
More sites of interest along the Kanza Heritage Trail : https://sacredredrock.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/allegawaho_kanza_heritage_trail_points_of_interest.pdf
The Dance Arbor
In 2015, the Kanza dedicated a dance arbor at the park. In August 2013, the Kaw Nation was awarded a $350,000 grant from the Kansas Department Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for a dance arbor and trails and campground improvements at the park. Groundbreaking for the arbor took place in September 2014. K-Construction, of Alta Vista, was selected to build the arbor, and it was completed in March 2015.
The tribe intends to re-establish a Kaw Nation presence in Kansas, and develop the park as a cultural gathering place for educating the public, promoting tourism, and preserving Kanza heritage.
Under this arbor The Kaw Nation will perform ritual dances. The Wichita Eagle reported in 2015 that the dances will be performed at the site of the last Kaw villages in Kansas, now known as Allegawahoo Memorial Heritage Park, before the Kaw Nation was forced to move to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1873.
“This is significant because that was the site of the last Kanza villages in Kansas before our removal into Indian Territory in 1873,” said Pauline Sharp of Wichita, vice president of the cultural committee for the Kaw Nation. “This was where our ancestors lived, and I think if you talk with any Kaw tribal member who has gone out to the park, it has a special feeling.When the tribe was forced to move, it had fewer than 500 members. Today, the Kaw Nation has almost 3,500 members."
More information on the Kaw can be found here :
Council Grove is proud and humbled to be able to celebrate and honor this rich history. We thank the Sovereign Nation of the Kaw for their insight and support and for allowing us to be inspired by the gifts they have given our community.
Explore Kaw Nation Events...
- Multiple DatesSun, Oct 22The Kaw Mission and Last Chance Store*Oct 22, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PMThe Kaw Mission and Last Chance Store*, 500 North Mission, Council Grove, KS 66846, USA
- Multiple DatesThu, Jun 20Council Grove's Neosho RiverwalkJun 20, 2024, 5:00 PM – Jun 21, 2024, 8:00 PMCouncil Grove's Neosho Riverwalk , 14 E Main St, Council Grove, KS 66846, USAJun 20, 2024, 5:00 PM – Jun 21, 2024, 8:00 PMCouncil Grove's Neosho Riverwalk , 14 E Main St, Council Grove, KS 66846, USAWashunga Days is an annual festival which celebrates the culture – both past and present of Council Grove and Morris County. The weekend celebration offers activities and entertainment for all ages.
- Sat, Sep 16Kaw Mission State Historic SiteSep 16, 1:30 PM – 5:00 PMKaw Mission State Historic Site, 500 North Msn, Council Grove, KS 66846, USA
- Multiple DatesFri, Sep 15Neosho Riverwalk AmphitheaterSep 15, 8:00 PM – Sep 16, 8:00 PMNeosho Riverwalk Amphitheater, 14 E Main St, Council Grove, KS 66846, USASep 15, 8:00 PM – Sep 16, 8:00 PMNeosho Riverwalk Amphitheater, 14 E Main St, Council Grove, KS 66846, USATickets are good for either day! Your choice! The pageant/historical drama will be held in the city's Neosho River amphitheater on September 15 and 16, 2023 at 8pm. The pre-show music and activities start around 7 pm so plan to arrive early.