New exhibit at Watkins Museum explores stories of Emigrant Indian Tribes in Kansas

Watkins Museum of History News Release

Contact: Will Hickox, Assistant Programs Coordinator, whickox@watkinsmuseum.org 
The Watkins Museum of History
1047 Massachusetts Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
(785) 841-4109

Watkins Museum opens new exhibit exploring the stories of Emigrant Indian Tribes in Kansas

The Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, Kansas, will host a free Final Friday event on September 25, 2015, from 5 to 8 p.m., introducing a new exhibition titled Under Protest: Emigrant Tribes in Franklin County, Kansas. This exhibition relates the stories of eleven tribes — where they came from, how they arrived in Franklin County, and their fates after relocation to Kansas. Developed in partnership with the Franklin County Historical Society (Ottawa, KS), the exhibition includes historic photographs, maps, and artifacts drawn from the collections of both the Douglas County and Franklin County Historical Societies. The exhibition will run from September 25, 2015 through January 9, 2016.

In the 1830s and ‘40s many tribes were relocated to land in what are now the states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Tribes native to Kansas were restricted to land on defined reservations. During the Civil War, pro-Union tribes escaping from Confederate forces in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) often sought refuge in Kansas. “As a result,” DCHS Executive Director, Steve Nowak indicated, “the area that is now Franklin County became home to a greater diversity of Emigrant Tribes than any other place in Kansas. The history and fate of those tribes reflects that of tribes relocated to reservations that were spread across what would become the state of Kansas.”

The exhibition’s opening will be celebrated with a talk by Professor Eric Anderson of Haskell Indian Nations University, as well as Native foods, music, and dancing by Haskell students. Fittingly, this year September 25 is also Native American Day. Join us for an exciting evening of Indian history and culture marking our new exhibition and a unique partnership of three local institutions.

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