Historical society hosts Native Neighbors From Franklin County's Past

Franklin County Historical Society News Release

News for Immediate Release

September 19, 2012

Contact: Deborah Barker, Director - Franklin County Historical Society
1124 W 7th St. Terrace, Ottawa, KS 66067
Ph: (785) 242-1232
Fax: (785) 242-1267

Native Neighbors from Franklin County’s Past 

When: October 13, 2012 - The event will begin at 1 p.m. and continue through the afternoon and early evening.

Who: Franklin County Historical Society and Franklin County Convention & Visitors Bureau are hosting a very special event to help celebrate the Franklin County Historical Society’s 75th Anniversary - “Native Neighbors From Franklin County’s Past.”

What: This event will bring together descendants of the many Native American groups that were resettled in what is now Franklin County, Kansas, from their original homes on the East Coast and Great Lakes in the 1830s. Most of these groups were once again relocated by 1870 to Oklahoma, then Indian Territory. Eastern Kansas and Oklahoma were called during that period the “Permanent Indian Frontier.”

The event will feature booths for these groups and other Native Americans who once lived in eastern Kansas. At these booths, some tribal representatives will tell their stories of the removals to and from Kansas, display artifacts and photos of their early history and also show evidence of their modern lives and accomplishments.

Other features of the day will include Indian food booths, short films, and three performances by a dance group from Ottawa County, Oklahoma (the destination for many of the Franklin County groups who were removed to Oklahoma including the Ottawas) which focuses on education the audience about native dress, dance, drumming and song. Visitors can collect informational cards about each tribe as the tour the booths.

Civil War historian Matt Matthews will give a talk on the Indian Brigade (whose 150th anniversary is this year) and refugee Indians enrolled in local military units. Matthews is an author and historian for the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth. Besides writing numerous books for them on recent wars, Matthews is the co-author of several scholarly articles on the Civil Way in the Trans-Mississippi including “Shot All To Pieces: The Battle of Lone Jack,” “To Play a Bold Game: The Battle of Honey Springs,” and “Better Off in Hell: The Evolution of the Kansas Red Legs.” He’s a frequent speaker at Civil War Roundtables and has appeared on the History Channel as a historian for Bill Kurtis’ Investigating History program.

Where: The event will be held at Washburn Towers, 526 S. Main Street in Ottawa. There is parking behind or to the west of the building. Weather permitting; some of the dancing will take place in City Park, near the Dietrich Cabin.

Why: This aspect of local history is little known, and the goals of the event are to establish contact with these native groups who once were our neighbors, to share the Native American Experience with everyone, to capture it on film for future interpretative use in the Old Depot Museum and elsewhere, and to offer a presentation that will be both entertaining and educational about the issues of Indian Removal policies of the past.

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