Heritage Area honors award recipients and founders

Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area News Release

For more information, contact: Sonia Smith, (785) 856-5301 info@freedomsfrontier.org

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area presents first awards at lunch in Fort Scott, Kansas

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA).will honor recipients of the Tacha Freedom Award and the Billings Most Valuable Partner award, along with the namesakes of the two awards, at a luncheon on Thursday, October 10 at 11:30, at the Liberty Theatre in Fort Scott, Kansas.

The luncheon is being hosted in Fort Scott with assistance from the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce, the Lowell Milken Center, Fort Scott National Historic Site and the National Park Service, and the Liberty Theatre. The event was underwritten with private donations.

The Tacha Freedom Award is an annual award named for Deanell Reece Tacha, Retired Judge with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. She served as the founding Chair of the FFNHA Board of Trustees from 2004 to 2010. To honor her work, the FFNHA board has established an award that will engage students in grades 9-11. The Award is intended to be a way to help students learn about the issues, ideas, people and events that contribute to FFNHA themes.
The Award includes a cash prize given to high school student(s) residing in or attending school in FFNHA, based upon a winning scholarly/creative work that relates to the history of the area and the themes of FFNHA: the shaping of the frontier, the Missouri-Kansas Border War, and the enduring struggle for freedom. This award may be presented to students on both sides of the Missouri/Kansas border.

The Billings MVP Award is also an annual award. Judy Billings, Retired President and CEO of Destination Management, Inc., served as the founding Executive Director of FFNHA from 2006-2012 and was instrumental advocating for National Heritage Area designation. To honor her work, the FFNHA board has established an award that will recognize individual heritage area partners (current or retired) for their contributions to the FFNHA. The Billings MVP award honors outstanding commitment to the advancement of the FFNHA goals and adherence to FFNHA guiding principles over an extended period of time.

  1. 1. Build awareness of the struggles for freedom that took place within the boundaries of Freedom’s Frontier for current and future generations.
  2. 2. Enhance, sustain and preserve the unique cultural and historic assets within our nationally important physical and cultural landscape that fostered these stories.
  3. 3. Inspire tolerance and respect for multiple perspectives.
  4. 4. Preserve and share our nationally important authentic stories in an engaging way.

FFNHA Guiding Principles
1. We will be tolerant and respectful of diverse stories from multiple perspectives.
2. We will respect property rights.
3. We will focus on authentic and engaging experiences.
4. We will honor the region’s peoples, past and present.
5. We will appreciate unique cultural and historical assets within the nationally important landscape.
6. We will invest in community engagement, education and empowerment.
7. We will sustain and grow a sense of place.
8. We will value and protect the natural environment.
9. We will consider future generations in everything we do. 

National heritage areas are designated by the United States Congress to promote historic preservation, appreciation and understanding. In 2006, Congress authorized, and the President signed into law, a measure that created Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area (FFNHA).

The Santa Fe, Oregon, California and Mormon trails all ran through the heritage area. As early settlers to territorial Missouri and Kansas clashed over slavery and abolition, the area’s Border Wars were a precursor to the Civil War. A century after that war’s end, the area was in the forefront of the Civil Rights movement, when the landmark Brown v. the Board of Education ended segregated public schools. Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area recognizes and preserves these and other unique stories of the role its people played in national history.

A seven-year, grassroots effort by local citizens representing museums, historical societies, libraries and other public and private organizations resulted in the national heritage area designation for FFNHA. The next step was to create a management plan. In 2010, the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior approved the management plan submitted by FFNHA. Recent accomplishments build on that plan, and increase awareness of the heritage area.

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area is dedicated to building awareness of the struggles for freedom in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. These diverse, interwoven and nationally important stories grew from a unique physical and cultural landscape. FFNHA inspires respect for multiple perspectives and empowers residents to preserve and share these stories. We achieve our goals through interpretation, preservation, conservation and education for all residents and visitors.

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area Fast Facts
Location: 41 counties in Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri, USA
Area: 31,021 square miles, approximately the size of South Carolina
Population: 2,811,295 (2007 estimate)
Established: October 12, 2006

Counties involved: Kansas – Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Clay, Coffey, Crawford, Douglas, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson, Woodson, Wyandotte.

Missouri – Barton, Bates, Buchanan, Cass, Clay, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Platte, Ray, St. Clair, Vernon

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