- Associated Press - Friday, June 19, 2015

COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. (AP) - An American Indian tribe is poised to hold its first official powwow for the first time in 142 years on its own land near Council Grove.

The Kaw Nation, also called the Kanza, is set this weekend to hold the powwow, with more than 300 dancers, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/1L5v2ys ) reported.

The Kaw Indians had claimed a territory that covered parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, but by the mid-19th century it was forced into what’s now Oklahoma. It ended up just across the Kansas line, near Newkirk and Ponca City.

The Kaw Nation in 2000 purchased more than 145 acres of land along the Little John Creek near Council Grove.

“It will be our first public dance on that space,” said Jim Pepper Henry, a Kaw tribal member. “We are now not just dancing in Kansas but dancing on our traditional land, land that we actually own. It is a great feeling to dance on our aboriginal land knowing it belongs to us.”

The tribe’s legacy and culture is ingrained in Kansas history. The state took its name from the tribe, and a Kaw warrior stands atop the dome of the state Capitol.

An 1825 peace treaty with the federal government reduced the Kanza lands from 20 million acres to 2 million acres just west of Topeka. An 1846 treaty again reduced the tribe’s land from 2 million acres to 256,000 acres near Council Grove.

The Kaw lived in three villages from 1848 until their forced removal south to Indian Territory in 1873.

When the Kaw were forced from Kansas in 1873 it had fewer than 500 numbers. Its numbers declined to fewer than 200 by 1902.

The Kaw Nation now has nearly 3,500 members.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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