Native Americans

Native American women living on reservations suffer from some of the highest rates of violent crime, per capita, in the world. Yet tribal courts are often limited in their authority to address the issue. Sarah Deer, a KU Law alum with Muscogee roots, recently received a MacArthur grant for her efforts to bridge the gap between federal and tribal law, and to empower tribes to protect their women. 

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A two-acre cemetery in downtown Kansas City, Kan. is one of the few public reminders of the Wyandot Nation, whose trail of tears brought them to the area in the early 19th century. Yet the Wyandot had an influence on what was to become Wyandotte County, as well as Kansas' civil war history.

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Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

"We're still here," says Gaylene Crouser of the Kansas City Indian Center. That's one of the many things she'd like people to understand about American Indians, a detail they might not pick up from mainstream movies. How have recurring characters on-screen shaped our perceptions of what it means to be indigenous in America? 

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Beth Lipoff / KCUR

The exhibition The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, now at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., marks an international collaboration, years in the making. Three museums on two different continents, featuring nearly 140 objects from North American and European collections. 

Julián Zugazagoitia, director and CEO of the Nelson-Atkins, says this builds on a museum tradition, started in the 1970s with Sacred Circles, of bringing Native American artwork to a larger audience.

Norman Akers

This fall, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opens its blockbuster exhibition "The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky," with works ranging from a 2,000-year-old stone pipe to beaded designer shoes from 2011. To spark enthusiasm, three enormous teepees now compete with the Shuttlecocks on the Nelson’s south lawn.

Flickr, .sanden.

The U.S. Patent Office revoked the Washington Redskins’ trademark, which has some Kansas City sports fans concerned about the fate of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Last year the National Congress of American Indians released a report that included the Chiefs in a list of sports teams they said profited from harmful stereotypes.

Richard Lanoue, President of the Indian Council of Many Nations which is based in Kansas City, doesn’t see it that way. Lanoue says the term “redskins” is racially disparaging but "chief" is different.

Jeremy Brooks / Flickr--CC

 As controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ name shines a light on Kansas City’s professional football team, many Kansas Citians are sticking by the Chiefs.

The Tomahawk Chop, a popular fan ritual at games, is another matter, however.

When the Redskins lost their trademark because of American Indian claims that the name disparages them, the debate tied to the appropriateness of the Chiefs came back to life.  

Anne Roberts / Flickr-CC

It’s no secret that people of different religions often clash over their differences. But when you look closer, the similarities jump out, especially when it comes to significant objects. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, our Religion Roundtable takes a look at why objects such as stones, crosses, bread, drums and incense have places of prominence in spiritual observance and how their function differs in each religion.

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Snapshots of the Past / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Long before the foundation of Oklahoma Joe's was laid or even the first oxen left Kansas City on the Santa Fe Trail, thousands of distinct people called the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers home. In fact, the history of human settlement goes back over 13,000 years to when mastodons roamed where cows now graze. The Kansas City area was home to Clovis peoples and later many more Native Americans, who either called the area home or were pushed here by white colonists.  Their legacy reverberates around the communities of Shawnee, Wyandotte and others.

Lawrence leaders aim to meet with counterparts in the Delaware Tribe of Oklahoma to learn plans for land that borders the city.

Mayor Mike Dever says a tribal intermediary never mentioned the word "casino" for the 90 acres recently purchased along I-70 and north of city limits, what Dever calls some of the most fertile farmland in the region.

Dever had informal talks with an unnamed third party interested in Native American affairs.

Sitting on the Old Santa Fe Trail, the town of Shawnee Mission was originally that: a mission for members of the Shawnee tribe who were transplanted from their native territory.

The history of Native Americans has been one of conflicting stereotypes. In colonial days the image was of savage or savior; in the Revolution, enemy or ally; as the U.S. expanded westward, guide or militant objector.

Kansas City, Mo. – For thousands of years, human societies were shaped by their environment, and through that relationship, we developed survival methods that were both healthy and sustainable. Today, as people try to shape the environment to fit our needs, we not only damage the planet, but we lose our hard-won indigenous knowledge just when we need it most.