Kaw Nation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 20 for the dance arbor at Allegawaho Heritage Memorial Park near Council Grove, Kan. In the future, Allegawaho Park will become the site of the Washunga Days Powwow.
The dance arbor will be complete by the end of the year.
Tribal Council Member Jason Murray spoke about the work that Kaw Nation has dedicated to the park, including building camp sites.
“We’ve put a lot of time into this. Going years back, this was part of our plan,” he said.
Chairman Guy Munroe lent his optimism for the future of the park.
“We’ve finally got something going and we’ll keep it going,” he said.
Luther Pepper also stated his optimism for the park with the coming of the powwow.
“It’s always good coming up here to be with friends we’ve made over the years.”
While expressing hope for the future of the park, Kansas Secretary of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Linda Craighead recalled how Chairman Munroe explained the significance of the location to the nation.
“The chairman told me, ‘You know, this place is very special to us. The hair stands up on the back of my neck when I come here.’ I hope to see this as an opportunity for Kaw Nation to tell their story.”
Her department funded the arbor with a grant. Grants from the Young Foundation and the Nystrom Foundation provide for picnic tables, barbecue stations, signage and the camp sites.
Tribal Council Member Gena Warren reflected on how the history of the Kanza people in Council Grove weighs on her heart when she travels to the town.
“We’re here because our ancestors were here,” she said. “When I come up here, it’s a solemn trip. Our people walked to Washunga when they were removed from here. We drive here. They walked all the way with all their belongings.”
Allegawaho Park Manager Barb Stanbrough thanked people who helped with park development, such as Sid Wilkerson, naturalist Glenn Fell, Clay Wilson, Nancy Stanbrough, welder C.B. Smith, Ronnie Patterson, Nanci Sigle, Ken Dougherty, the parks committee, Chairman Munroe and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.