Progress in Kansas

Indians Leave Kansas
A Heritage of Historic Lore

IT is the favorite illusion of those unfamiliar with Kansas that the state is still overrun with Indians eager to scalp any unwary paleface who may stray across their path. The fact is that the Indian population of Kansas numbers a bare 2000 and is represented almost entirely by the enrollment of Haskell Institute at Lawrence, largest Indian school in the nation, and those living on the government reservation in Brown county.

     But, scattered throughout the state are innumerable historic points associated with the redman and his stubborn efforts to repulse an invading Caucasian civilization.

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ONE of the oldest Indian landmarks in Kansas are the ruins of El Quartelejo, 12 miles north of Scott City. It is an old pueblo structure, dating somewhere between 1650 and 1720, built by the Pueblo Indians who fled from Spanish oppression in Taos, N. M.

     Pike's Pawnee Village Park, in Republic county, is the site of the Pawnee Indian village which Lieutenant Zebulon Pike visited in 1806. It was here that the Stars and Stripes first waved in Kansas when Pike ordered the Spanish flag in front of the Indian chief's lodge replaced with the U. S. flag.

     Under a large oak tree, still preserved, at Council Grove, the Plains Indians met with U. S. commissioners in 1825 and signed the treaty which gave the government the right-of-way for the Santa Fe Trail.

     Medicine Lodge is where the United States government and the Plains Indians signed the famous peace treaties in 1867, opening western Kansas to white settlement and permitting the building of railroads to the Pacific Coast.

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REPLETE with historic appeal are the old Indian missions, most famous of which, perhaps, is Shawnee in Johnson county. Both the Baptists and Methodists maintained establishments here for the religious training and education of the redman. Here, too, the first printing press in Kansas was set up by Rev. Jotham Meeker on which he printed the state's first newspaper -- in the Indian language. The buildings still stand and the site is one of the state's historic parks.

     Among other missions were the Ottawa Baptist Mission at Ottawa; the Iowas, Sac and Fox Mission set up near Highland by the Presbyterians and out of which grew Highland University; the Quaker Mission, near Merriam in Johnson county; and, the Pottamatomie Baptist Mission west of Topeka.

     Pawnee Rock, site of a state park, probably saw as much white blood spilled as any other point in Kansas. It was the favorite ambuscade of the redskins and scores of pioneer travelers were trapped there.

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THE Indian brought the first church to Kansas. It was erected by the Wyandottes in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1844. Later, the slavery question split it into two branches. Both exist today claiming to be the true descendant of the original congregation.

     In the very heart of the Kansas City business district is an old Wyandotte burial ground known as Huron cemetery.

     One of the most romantic Indian landmarks in the state is Waconda Springs, west of Beloit. The Indians worshipped it as the Great Spirit; made annual pilgrimages to it; celebrated their victories there and buried their chieftains.

     A bloody reminiscence of pioneer days is found on the south wall of the Bartell House in Junction City where a bronze tablet bears the inscription: "This tablet marks the site of a stone building where early day settlers of Junction City in 1861 took refuge from a raid of 9000 Indians who were holding a war dance, with fresh scalps dangling from the bridles of their ponies."

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IN 1878 the Indians made their last raid in Kansas when Chief Dull Knife led a band of Cheyennes across the state from south to north, murdering citizens and destroying property as they went. Nineteen settlers were killed in Decatur county and a monument has been erected to their memory at Oberlin, the county seat.

     There are scores of other points in the state where Indian battles were staged; massacres precipitated; raids made. All of these landmarks are a part of the picturesque background of Kansas and serve to perpetuate the memory of the noble Indian.

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