The Kansas Land Treaties Project is a public resource for educators, students, and the public to learn more about how Kansas went from the ancestral homeland of Indigenous nations to a state within the United States. This project is in process and will change over the next several years. Remember to keep checking back for updates and more resources.

Though most Kansans do not realize it, much of the state’s land was acquired by the United States through treaties with Indigenous nations such as the Kanza people, today known as the federally recognized Kaw Nation. The 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act was one way the U.S. Congress redistributed Indigenous land as “gifts” to colleges and universities that then resold the land to help fund their institutions.

K-State, founded in 1863 as Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, is one of the first land-grant universities in the United States. K-State's Chapman Center for Rural Studies launched the Kansas Land Treaties Project in 2020 to provide educational resources about this complex history. The Chapman Center, aided by a grant from Humanities Kansas and support from Johnson County Community College’s Kansas Studies Institute, launched this collaborative digital project. Students, scholars, and Kaw citizens discussed, researched, and examined historical documents and contemporary perspectives about the treaties and Kanza sovereignty.

Once completed, this digital resource will present the 1825, 1846, and 1859/1862 land cession treaties between the Kanza, now Kaw Nation, and the U.S. government. It will also detail the 1872 congressional act that forced the Kanza out of their ancestral homelands and into “Indian Territory,” now present-day Oklahoma. In addition to the treaty annotations, this project compiles audio interviews, maps, and videos to contextualize Kanza history, life, and culture – past and present. In the future, the Chapman Center, K-State scholars, and Johnson County Community College’s Kansas Studies Institute, will continue collaborating with Kaw citizens to expand this online resource for students, teachers, and the general public in Kansas, the U.S., and the Kaw Nation. While the Kansas Land Treaties Project has many uses, our central hope is that this resource will fill a gap in the Kansas educational system and make Kansas more than an empty place name. After all, there is no Kansas without the Kanza.

View the Kansas Treaties website: