Workshop series throughout June to precede upcoming return of sacred prayer rock stolen from Kaw Nation

photo by: Rochelle Valverde/Journal-World

Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe — which is pronounced “EE(n) ZHOO-jay wah-HO-bay” and literally means “sacred red rock” — is pictured on June 2, 2023.

The project team that has been working for more than three years to return a sacred prayer rock that was stolen from the Kaw Nation will host a series of community workshops this month as preparations for the return to get underway.

Beginning this Sunday and continuing each Sunday thereafter in June, the project team will host a guided tour and interactive workshop in Robinson Park, where Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe — which is pronounced “EE(n) ZHOO-jay wah-HO-bay” and literally means “sacred red rock” — has been located since being stolen and made into a monument to settlers.

All participants will receive a project activity guide to work on as attendees experience the stone and the park from multiple points of view, including geological, historical, cultural and personal reflection, according to a news release from the project team. The release states the events will be the last scheduled opportunities to visit Robinson Park before it is closed in July in preparation for the relocation of Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe in late August.

The events will be led by members of the Sacred Red Rock Project Team and will last about 90 minutes. Attendees are advised to bring water, a snack if desired, a chair/stool if desired and to be mindful of traffic when getting to the park. Robinson Park is located at 4 W. Sixth St., which is in between where the two sides of the Kansas River Bridge meet Sixth Street.

The rock has been at that location since 1929, when a group of Lawrence officials and community members arranged to take the 28-ton red quartzite boulder from its longtime resting place along the Shunganunga Creek near Tecumseh, where the creek joins with the Kansas River, according to newspaper archives previously reviewed by the Journal-World. The area had been part of the Kaw Nation before the tribe’s forcible removal to Indian Territory and the boulder was part of the tribe’s song-prayer ceremonies. After taking it, the city fitted the boulder with a plaque honoring the city’s settlers and installed it as a monument in Robinson Park. The city agreed to return the rock and issue a formal apology to the tribe in 2021.

The project to return the rock is led by members of the Kaw Nation in collaboration with the City of Lawrence, University of Kansas, Spencer Museum of Art, Kanza Heritage Society and others. Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe will be moved to Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park in Council Grove. The park is located on land owned by the Kaw Nation. The project received a $5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2022 to support its efforts. In addition to the relocation, the project includes infrastructure for Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe, documentation of the history and cultural significance of Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe through photographic and video documentation, and the publication of an edited volume through University Press of Kansas, according to the project website,

The guided tour and interactive workshops will be held at 2 p.m. on June 4, 11, 18 and 25 in Robinson Park, 4 W. Sixth St. Questions or comments can be directed to


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