Archive for Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Historical note

April 11, 2001


To the editor:

After reading the historical explanation of the beginnings of Lawrence on page 13A of the Journal World from April 6, I felt the need to set the story straight.

As a child, I heard about Signal Oak, Palmyra and the Battle of Black Jack, along with Quantrill's Massacre. But all of this was conveniently pushed forward, while the real reason for the Kansas-Nebraska Act was omitted. This was the opening of white settlement on Indian lands in this area.

With the passing of this act in 1854, the lands of many Indian tribes were greatly reduced or wiped out entirely. Tribes like the Delawares, Shawnees, Kickapoos, Miamis, Sauk and Foxes of the Missouri, Kaskaskias, Peorias, Piankishaws, Weas and Wyandots all conceded large amounts of land that now range from Paola, north to the Nebraska border and from the Missouri line, west to Ottawa.

The aforementioned "border ruffian" Missourians who attacked this area, were already "squatting" on Kickapoos and Delaware lands, near the pro-slavery stronghold of Atchison. And the aforementioned 10 tribes were coerced into treaties drawn up by Indian Commissioner George Manypenny in 1854-55. It was an 1825 treaty with the Kansa that created space in eastern Kansas for those tribes to come here.

A statement in Dr. William Unrau's book, "Indians of Kansas," stated that the Free Staters, "Could have a moral concern about slavery, while having no moral issue over seizing Indian Property and lands." And as these treaties and agreements followed up into the 1880s, these tribes and other native Plains tribes like the Kansa, Osage, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Comanche, Wichita and Pawnee, were either moved out of what was Indian Territory from 1825-1854, or remained in Kansas on greatly reduced lands, fighting bureaucratic wars against land allotment from 1887-1934, and trust termination in the 1950s.

In conclusion, maybe the city of Lawrence should invite the Kaw, Shawnee and Delaware Tribes back for the 150th Anniversary of Lawrence and thank them for "loaning" out this land so that Lawrence could be founded and the Wetlands could be threatened.

Mike Ford,


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