(Frank) Today on Around Kansas, Deb is in Council Grove at the Kaw Mission Historic Site, an important stop on the Santa Fe Trail in the 1800’s. We’ll learn about the contraction of the Mission School and the annual pageant that tells the story of the Kaw Indians. Then we’ll meet the past president of the Kansas Muzzleloaders Association and much more!
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(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas from the Kaw Mission State Historic Site here in lovely Council Grove. And with me is Mary Honeyman who’s been here quite a few years. And Mary I know this is a really special place for you, so why don’t you tell us what it means to you to be here. (Mary) OK. I’ve been here for about ten years and I absolutely love the building, the people with whom I work and the history behind the building. It’s very special. And it’s remained very special to the people who live here in Council Grove. And a lot of people come from all over the world to see this site, not just because of the Kansa Indians. But in addition to them this was the one of the most important stops on the Santa Fe Trail, back in the Santa Fe Trail Days. From 1821 until about 1866, the trail went through and crossed the river where Council Grove is today. It took about 27 years for somebody to get smart and actually start living here. And when Seth Hayes settled here it started a fire storm and a lot of people moved in. Now, the town’s never been over 2,500 and today I’ve been told it’s about 2,300. But they’ve managed to keep the history up in this town quite well. There are 24 historical sites. And out of those 24, 13 of them are on at least one, two or three of the National Historic Registers in Washington, D.C. (Deb) That’s incredible. I dare say there’s a more significant place in Kansas. There may be some equal, but surely none surpass the significance of Council Grove. Now, how long has this building itself been here? (Mary) It was built in 1850 and it was actually finished in 1851, but in six short months. There was no town here so all of the stone had to be harvested. And the lumber as well as anything that they needed. Twenty five men came here from the Kansas City Shawnee Mission to build this building for the Methodist Church Episcopal South. And they came in September of 1850 and by December 1850 all of the stone work was done. Isn’t that pretty incredible? (Deb) It is. (Mary) And then by February of 1851 the whole building was finished and the Kaw boys moved in, in May of 1851 and began their study here. (Deb) So what kind of classes would you have had here? Who was studying here? (Mary) Well, actually the Indian boys from the tribe that was living on a reservation surrounding Council Grove, eventually south of Council Grove. It was built actually to educate them to be more like the Euro-American who were coming this way. Therefore they studied all the three “R’s” reading, writing and arithmetic. But the big emphasis was on teaching them to be farmers and to be Christians. But the boys really wanted to be hunters and liars. And so they ran away, for three years straight they kept running away. And finally they decided to turn this building into a school for white children. And then it’s had a pretty interesting history from then on. And we bought the building and I mean the state of Kansas, Governor Arn signed the check, and we bought the building in 1951. And it’s remained a museum since then. So, it’s not only been here for quite a while but it’s been a part of the Kansas State Historical Society as well. (Deb) We’re gonna take a break and be right back with Mary Honeyman.
(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas, we’re with Mary Honeyman at the Kaw Mission State Historic Site here in Council Grove. And we’re here this weekend because there’s just so much going on. And we were just talking about how this building was put up to educate the Kaw or the Kansa and they weren’t real thrilled with it then. So what kind of relationship do you have with the tribe now? (Mary) We have a terrific relationship, working relationship with them. Because since 1924 when a monument was built to honor an unknown Kansa warrior who had been found in a grave in 1924, the Kaw tribe hadn’t been back since they’d exited in 1872 because their experience here was not, it wasn’t the people in the town necessarily, it just that they had lots of disease and famine while they were here. (Deb) Yeah. (Mary) And so when they left they weren’t real interested in coming back very soon but when they came back for the commemoration and the dedication of that monument they’ve been coming back ever since. They had their first pow wow in 1925 when they came back and today we’ve built a city festival around the pow wow. And it’s the featured event of a two day city festival. And the community, largely the Friends of Kaw Heritage here, the volunteers here, we’ve been working with them for a long time on these two pow wows. (Deb) Now, tell us just real quickly about the pageant itself. (Mary) Oh, the pageant is marvelous. We’ve done, I say not I have done several of them but not all of them, these two performances will make it 22 performances of this drama and it’s actually a pageant. It has about everything in it that you’d like to see. We have live horses. We have wagons. We have a stagecoach. Lots of color. The costumes are done by the director’s mother and she is actually the chairman of the committee. And she’s a great seamstress. And if you come it’s just a delight to see all these beautiful hoop skirts and the men are attired period style, so it really does take you back in time for a couple of hours. (Deb) Well that’s great because the Kaw, obviously the name sake of the state of Kansas, for them to have a significant presence now is really an important thing. And to have their heritage honored here is really a “have to” and what an important mission that is for you here. (Mary) I might tell you also that Ron Parks has written a book. He retired ten years ago when I took this job to write a book about the Kansa during the time that they lived around in two reservations around what is now Council Grove. And the mayor of town, the mayor of Junction City declared the whole month Kaw heritage month in Junction City. And last Tuesday our mayor, gave Ron the key to the city and declared this entire week Voices of the Wind People, the Kaw Heritage Week. So, the Kaw are feeling really pretty good about being here. (Deb) Well, Ron what a great historian. What a wonderful job he did. We’re gonna have to go now. Mary thank you so much. (Mary) Thank you so much. (Deb) Now, real quick people can come, what are your hours, regular hours here? (Mary) Oh, our regular hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 9:30 to 5 o’clock. We’re closed on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and State holidays. (Deb) OK. (Mary) But other than that, we’re here and we’d love to have you all come and visit. (Deb) All year around the admission is just 3 bucks or something. It’s very reasonable. (Mary) Yeah, three dollars for adults and a dollar for students. And children five and under are absolutely free. (Deb) Well, this is one that you have to do. We’ll be right back.
(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas and with me is Mike Blue Hawk Adams and he does some really cool stuff which we’re gonna talk about still here in Council Grove. Mike, glad to have you with us. (Mike) Thank you, been good to have you. (Deb) Now, talk about what the… you’re past president of the Kansas Muzzleloaders Association. So talk about what that organization is and how long it’s been around. (Mike) We’re getting ready to celebrate our 30th year in February. Our 30th annual convention. And it is the organization for all black powder shooters in the state of Kansas. And we do…we promote the historical study of the highlight of the muzzleloader and we also do presentations and we help with the 4H and things like that. It’s for everybody from a reenactor of Civil War or Mountain Man or Longhunters or anything like that, right on up to your everyday box shooter in a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt with a tackle box to put his stuff in. (Deb) I have to tell you, those early hunters who are carrying these muzzleloading things that are like, what? Ten, 20 feet long? I mean they’re from here to there. To get up on an animal and kill it, that’s a pretty amazing feat. (Mike) It really is. In the very beginning they really thought that the longer the barrel, the longer you could shoot. And that’s why so many of them were made with a long barrel. But I’ve been hunting and shooting muzzle loaders for about 40 years now, I gave up on modern guns and I do all my hunting with muzzle loaders. I hunt buffalo, elk, wild pigs, deer, coyotes, anything with a muzzleloader. I hunt turkeys with a muzzleloading shotgun. I hunt pheasants and quail and things like that. So, I do it just like my ancestors did 200 years ago. (Deb) OK, I’m not a gun expert, but muzzleloaders are not rifles, right? (Mike) Some are and some aren’t. The early ones were smooth bores just like a normal shotgun today. But they started rifling them, and so they’ll match a modern gun out to about 100 yards. (Deb) OK, so the range makes a difference with the rifling, the accuracy and everything. So, what are you doing here at Council Grove? (Mike) We’re here for the Voices of the Wind People Pageant. My wife and I set up the TiPi Village that the Kaw coming in habit. And we also trick out their trade room and we also act in the pageant. We have several parts in the pageant. (Deb) So, what part do you play? (Mike) I come in as the leader of the Bushwhackers that terrorize the townspeople and we start out as coming through as Bucknell in 1822 when they first came through here. And we also do a couple of town scenes. But we come in as the Bushwhackers to terrorize the townspeople and then we come back and we’re the ones that actually murder the store keeper and his brother-in-law later on and then I do my part, the other part I do is I’m the one that’s elected as the captain of the wagon train as it’s leading, headed for Santa Fe. (Deb) So, when you’re talking about the Voices of the Wind People, and you play so many parts, you obviously know a lot of history and of course, this is the history of the west. Everything you’re talking about that’s… these are the big events and microcosm in the history of the west. So, did you grow up loving that Texan, you know you got it all? (Mike) I’ve always loved history. I’ve just taken my love and made it my business. I love this area, the Voices of the Wind People Pageant because it tells so much of the history of Council Grove from both sides. It’s a balanced pageant which you don’t see in a lot of places. And it tells it from the Indian side, it tells it from the White side. And it balances it out to make you understand what it was like for the Native Americans that were here when they were losing their land as the Europeans came. So, there’s just a lot of history in Kansas that people don’t know about. We’ve got a lot of wonderful historic sites. (Deb) Mike, thanks so much. (Mike) You’re very welcome. (Deb) We’ll be right back.
(Deb) Welcome to Around Kansas in Council Grove, Kansas, one of the most historic towns in the state, right along the Santa Fe Trail so its history goes way, way back. And this is a real special weekend in Council Grove with the presentation of the Voices of the Wind people. So, there’s a lot going on in association with that. And we’ve got a couple of folks involved in the whole weekend. And that would be Catnip and Brother Blue. Welcome, thanks for joining us. So, tell us what you’re doing. And this is your camp behind us right? (Catnip) Yes, I’m the one on the end and I’ve been doing this living history demonstrations like this for eight years. This is my first year for Voices of the Wind People. And basically it’s very similar to other events that I’ve done in Americus and in Topeka for Cider Days. (Deb) So, Brother Blue how long have you been doing this? (Brother Blue) I’ve been doing living history stuff since 1985 on and off. This is my second year for Voices of the Wind People and I’ve done Cider Days deal and several others around the state. (Deb) Now when you talk about living history, what era is it that you’re portraying? (Brother) Here we’re portraying the Santa Fe Trail Days from 1822 on up to about 1869, somewhere in there. (Catnip) It covers several decades. I like history and what is nice about the living history is that you actually pick up the things that they used to use and you actually use it when you’re camping out. Like in day to day life, like using the old fashioned can openers and using the old methods of preserving food and things like that. (Deb) I think the old fashioned can opener is really interesting because folks don’t think about having canned food way back, but we sure did. (Brother) Yep, they had that back in the 1700’s. (Deb) I know that the steamboat Arabia exhibit has the canned food and all that which is really interesting. Now, you’re from Haysville? (Brother) I’m from down in Raymond, Kansas. (Deb) Oh excuse me, Raymond, Kansas. Now, tell us about Raymond. (Brother) Raymond was founded in 1872. It was a cattle town for about a year and then the cattle moved when the railroad was moved further west and the deadline was moved further west and Raymond kind of went bust after that. It’s still a small, thriving community. (Deb) And what county is that in? (Brother) Rice County. It’s down between Hutchinson and Great Bend if you drew a straight line between those two. (Deb) So, Elizabeth, talk about what you’re actually demonstrating when people come up to your site here what do you do to talk about the old days? (Catnip) I’m mostly just living as if I were living at that time. So, I’ll demonstrate cooking techniques and cleaning techniques and basically what someone would do in a camp at a rendezvous when the Mountain Men would come down out of the mountains and trade with the merchants. That would be a rendezvous like this. Sometimes there would be trade goods out and… (Brother) It’s more of a bond hunter kind of thing, because they didn’t have the mountains so… They didn’t have rendezvous and those were more in eastern Wyoming, Denver area moving on up from there. (Deb) Right. Thanks so much, we’ve got a lot more folks to visit with so we’ll be right back. Stay with us.
(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas and we’re visiting with Jeremy Williams who came up from Oklahoma to be part of the cast here. And Jeremy you were saying that you used to come up here as a child. (Jeremy) Yes, ma’am I sure did. I came up whenever I was younger. My Grandpa would bring us up and we enjoyed coming to the dance. (Deb) Now he was you said, vice chairman of the tribe. (Jeremy) Yes he was vice chairman of the tribe. His name was Newman Little Walker Junior. (Deb) So, what does this mean to you when you come up to Council Grove where the Kaw were for so many years and you know, to be a part of this? What does that mean to you personally? (Jeremy) Personally, I guess I could say it kind of brings you back home. I enjoy coming up here and participating in the dance and I participated this year in the pageant. So, I enjoy that. And I just like to bring my family up here and enjoy the culture. (Deb) Now, the dance that you do in the pageant, is that something that is scripted? Is it something you guys have control over? How does that work? (Jeremy) It’s kind of like an individual dance. You’ve got your own footwork. You’ve got your own moves that you do. It’s not scripted. So, it’s kind of just, go with it, you know. (Deb) Wonderful. Well, it’s so nice to meet you and thanks for joining us tonight and we look forward to seeing you again. (Jeremy) Yes, ma’am. Thank you very much.
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