“It was a well-done presentation about such a very terrible situation.”
Remarks similar to that were repeated by those leaving the Voices of the Wind People pageant at Council Grove.
The outdoor historical drama was about the Kaw Indians, the Santa Fe Trail, and early day white settlers.
Appropriately performed in the Old Neosho Riverbed Amphitheater, many locals plus Kaw Indians from Oklahoma comprised the large cast.
Evening presentations with live reenactments accompanied by elaborately developed technology including historical pictures, music and sound created eerie feelings.
Native Americans lived off the land for unknown centuries. Then America was “discovered” as intruders found what looked like wide open opportunities to prosperity.
Without regard for the natives, newcomers moved west to control what they considered free land for taking. Land which perhaps had existed since the beginning of time and cared for by inhabitants was stolen from its caretakers.
Peaceful Indians and their loving self-sufficient families all of a sudden were “bad people.” Settlers moved into the lands mercilessly establishing trails, trading, modern farming methods and communities declaring it was “their right.” Oh how terrible were this nation’s forefathers still proclaimed “good guys” in certain stories.
There are records verifying the Kanzas (Native Americans) lived in Kansas in the late 1600s. A treaty arranged by the United States government in 1825 assigned the Kanzas to a reservation on “their own land.”
Native Americans also agreed to safe passage of “European American” traders on the 800-mile Santa Fe Trail through Council Grove.
In 1846, the Native Americans signed another United States Government treaty relocating them to a reservation at Council Grove. The peaceful original land caretakers had no choice; they had to meet white people’s demands or be killed.
In 1859, “the Government” arranged another treaty reducing size of the Kanza reservation. Hunting lands became unavailable and modern farming changes which could not be understood made self-sufficiency impossible.
White intruders forced their ways on the Kanza who could readily communicate, take care of themselves and the beloved land.
White squatters continued encroachment and United States Congress 1873 legislation forced Kanzas to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. It is difficult to understand why successive Kanza generations congenially return to Council Grove to be in the pageant.
Reminded of John 16:4: “Those who did those things never really understood the Father.”