Officials of the Citizens Potawatomi Nation will formally dedicate interpretive signs placed at the entrance to Skyline Park at 3 p.m. on April 29. Citizens Potawatomi Nation Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett will be joined by Shawnee County Commissioner Kevin Cook and Shawnee County Parks + Recreation Director Tim Laurent. Members of the Citizens Potawatomi Nation will also be present.
A series of three signs tells the history of the Potawatomi who, in 1838, were forced at gunpoint from their homes in Indiana to embark on a 660-mile trek known as the “Trail of Death.” The interpretive signs explain how the Potawatomi came to live in northeast Kansas as part of a government relocation. The signs include a section on Chief Abram Burnett, who once owned the property on which Skyline Park now resides – an area known at Burnett’s Mound.
Before coming to Kansas, Burnett at only 8 years of age in 1821, served as Rev. Isaac McCoy’s guide and important interpreter sitting in on important counsels with the Chiefs all throughout Indiana and Michigan.
The signs were placed in the park in March of 2020 but their dedication was postponed due to mass gathering restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were here in the history and development of Topeka and Shawnee County,” said Jon Boursaw, a Potawatomi legislator who represents Kansas. “We wanted to tell our story.”
According to Boursaw, 753 tribal members live in Shawnee County and 2,900 live in Kansas. There are a total of nine tribes of Potawatomi residing in multiple U.S. states including Kansas and two tribes residing in Canada.
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice
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