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Archive for Saturday, August 12, 2000

Indian history

August 12, 2000

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To the editor:

With all of this petition negativity going on, I figured it would do some good to provide a different perspective on the history of the Delaware tribes that were, or are, here in Kansas.

The Delaware, or Lenni-Lenape, had three divisions, with many smaller tribes among them. They were originally from the East Coast, where they were called the "Grandfather Tribe." They have an ancient, documented history, chronicled in the "Walum Olum." After being tricked out of lands in Pennsylvania, by Thomas Penn in the "walking purchase" of 1737, the Delaware were forced through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. Current Delaware live in New Jersey, Delaware, Ontario, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma.

With the Kansa tribe's treaty of 1825, the Delaware moved into this area. By 1848, the Delaware had shared part of their land with the Wyandot. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, leading to the settler invasion of Indian Kansas. All of the eastern tribes at this point were under assault from fraudulent Indian agents, settlers "squatting" illegally on Indian lands and politicians and land speculators trying to steal the land right out from under the tribes. Such was the case with Thomas R. Ewing's usurping of Delaware lands for the Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Railroad. When the tribes could cede no more land to settlers' greed, they went to Cherokee-leased land in Oklahoma. One of the Delaware who was a victim of settlers' greed was Sarcoxie, a man whose land north Lawrence is now built on.

With the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal Oklahoma tribe can purchase land elsewhere for gaming purposes, which is what the Delaware want to do on their own reservation. The tribe has to gain permission from the Department of the Interior, the other state and the landowner(s) for the compact to work. In conclusion, for those against gaming, which is worse, gaming or the stock market? These petition-signers who are against possible crime have no concept of the crimes that were committed to take lands from Native Americans in the first place, here in Kansas in 1850-1860. For the uninitiated, they should read the Unrau/Miner book, "The End of Indian Kansas."

Mike Ford, Lawrence.

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