[Editor’s note: The following is a response to The Herald’s three-day photo series on Ottawa’s and Franklin County’s ties to American Indians, published Dec. 2, 3 and 6. It was not intended as an all-inclusive history of the region or its native people.]
The recent tribal histories on the front page of The Herald touched the surface, but much was not mentioned.
In proto historic times, the Pomona culture people and the ancestors of the Pawnee people dwelled in Franklin County along the Marais des Cygnes River. The Kaw and Osage tribes dwelled here and treatied away lands in 1825. Following the Osage Treaty of 1825, Franklin County had lands claimed by the Citizen Potawatomi, Shawnee, Adawe, Peoria and Ojibwe peoples in the 1830s. The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi River came in 1843 and the Christian or Munsee Tribe of Indians came in 1859 to the Ojibwe reservation. U.S. Civil War refugee tribes, such as the Seneca-Shawnee, Quapaw, and Wyandotte, along with some Creek people, stayed in Franklin County during the 1860s.
This history can be summed up in the involvement of Indian agents, missionaries and railroads stealing lands from these tribes. Sac and Fox Indian Agent Albert Wiley coerced lands from the Sac and Fox reservation for the real estate firm of Craig and Wiley in Quenemo.
Agent Perry Fuller was head of the Centropolis Fraud Ring, which sold poisoned whiskey to the Sac and Fox people. Fuller also manipulated Chippewa lands. Bretheren Missionary Joseph Romig manipulated the Chippewa and Munsee peoples into citizenship to get his church tribal lands. Tauy Jones and C.C. Hutchinson manipulated away Adawe lands through the 1862 treaty which eventually pushed the Adawe out of Kansas.
The U.S. Indian Claims Commission paid for the sins of Hutchinson and Jones 103 years later in the 1960s with a damage claim settled in favor of the then-Congressionally terminated Adawe people of Oklahoma.
One can read “The End of Indian Kansas, 1854-1871” by Wichita State University professors Craig Miner and William Unrau to study the history mentioned above and other acts of tribal land theft in Kansas.
In closing, there are a number of Munsee and some Chippewa descendants around your area. The Munsees have an incredibly rich history back to Ontario, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Please look to the present sources of history instead of those from a one-sided past.
— Mike Ford, Baldwin City