Gov. Kelly calls return of red prayer rock ‘a significant step forward’

photo by: Kansas Governor's Office

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly attends an event Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Lawrence commemorating the return of the red prayer rock to the Kaw Nation.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday joined tribal, city and university representatives to commemorate the return of Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe, or Sacred Red Rock, to the people of the Kaw Nation.

“The Sacred Red Rock has long been part of Kansas’ history, and I am honored to participate in its return to its rightful stewards,” Kelly said. “This event marks a significant step forward in ensuring we respect and honor Indigenous peoples, cultures and traditions.”

The rock was taken nearly a century ago and placed in Robinson Park in downtown Lawrence. It originally sat at the confluence of the Kansas River and Shunganunga Creek in Tecumseh before being moved in 1929 and adorned with a plaque to honor Lawrence’s white settlers.

The rock will be moved to Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park in Council Grove, which is owned by the Kaw Nation. There, it will join other monuments to Kaw heritage.

photo by: Kansas Governor’s Office

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly speaks at an event Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, in Lawrence commemorating the return of the red prayer rock to the Kaw Nation.

Kelly took part in the commemoration in Watson Park with Kaw Nation leaders, City of Lawrence officials, Haskell Indian Nations University and University of Kansas representatives to commemorate the rock’s return.

“I am delighted to see our city’s leaders collectively honor the sovereign rights of Tribal Nations by partnering in the return of the Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe Sacred Red Rock,” said Jancita Warrington, executive director of Kansas Native American Affairs in Kelly’s office.

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Iⁿ’zhúje’waxóbe, a sacred prayer rock of the Kanza people, is pictured on July 23, 2023, at Robinson Park.


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