To understand the context of these treaties, we’ve reached out to scholars and community members to share their stories and perspectives on what these treaties mean and how their influence still has impact today. Below are some of the quotes and resources that helped us understand these documents in their historical context.
Ronald D. Parks, former assistant director of the Historic Sites division of the Kansas State Historical Society, former administrator of the Kaw (Kanza) Mission State Historic Site, and author of The Darkest Period: The Kanza Indians and Their Last Homeland, 1846-1873:
“What the government was asking the Kanza to do was a major cultural revolution in terms of gender roles because the Kanza are a horticultural people. They raised corn, beans, pumpkins, squash, later watermelons, potatoes, and some sunflowers, but that is women's work... When Thomas Say came to the Blue Earth village, just right here, close to Manhattan - I believe that was in 1819-1820 - He said that they have about 100 acres in agriculture and they're raising these crops, and the women are doing the work. Sometimes men would pitch in with some of the heavier work, but for the most part, it was women's wo. Well, when we got to Council Grove, and they began to try to provide some training for ... the students at the Kaw mission who were all boys, by the way, to become farmers, they ran into opposition from the old-line conservative male hierarchy of the tribe who refuse... They weren't going to do women's work and they didn't want their sons to do women’s work. So that was that was one of those solutions.… we need to get the Kanza to function as property owning farmers, and of course, males are the ones that are supposed to be doing that in the Euro American modality anyway. But they ran smack dab into cultural barriers simply because of the hundreds of years of that being a gender specific role."
The following pages are a beta release of a larger project. Please stay tuned as we update these pages!
Funding for this program is provided by Humanities Kansas, a nonprofit cultural organization connecting communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life. The findings, conclusions, etc., are not necessarily those of HK or the National Endowment for the Humanities.