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K-State Today

May 8, 2015

Ritterbush reveals life of the Kanza Indians at Blue Earth

Submitted by Lauren W. Ritterbush

Lauren W. Ritterbush, associate professor of anthropology, has published a comprehensive description of Blue Earth village, home of the Kanza Indians between about A.D. 1790 and 1830.

Her article "Visit to Blue Earth" appears in the spring 2015 issue of Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains. Blue Earth village was established in the late 18th century as the Kanza moved from the Missouri River to establish their major home along the Kansas River near present day Manhattan.

A party of men associated with the long expedition visited the village in August 1819, leaving a useful description of the Kanza and their Blue Earth home. Two artists among this group, Samuel Seymour and Titian Ramsay Peale II, prepared the earliest known sketches of plains' earth lodges and images of the Kanza. Early archaeological investigation of this site, before much of its destruction, add to our knowledge of the Kanza during the period immediately prior to major changes that were to dramatically affect the life and history of the Kaw Tribe.