“Whose Land?” photo by jetsonorama

Essential to our focus on deep nature connection, we acknowledge the previous stewards of the land from which this organization springs. In Kansas City, we are on lands once occupied by First Nations including the Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), the Kaw, the Osage, and the Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee SHAW-koh-we] Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota)1. We recognize these lands were stolen by the U.S. government from the Great and Little Osage in 1825 through Cession ID 1232

Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) 

We acknowledge the history of the Kiikaapoi tribe. They can be traced from lands in the Great Lakes region from where, between wars with other tribes and a push by the Government, they migrated to the Illinois lands in the 18th Century. The Kickapoo entered into 10 treaties between 1795 and 1854, resulting in the shift of tribes into four areas – a reservation near Horton KS, and to Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico. The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas is around 1600 people, about half of which still reside on the five- by six-mile reservation assigned to them in the Treaty of 1854.3  

Kaw, People of the South Wind 

We acknowledge the history of the Kaw, People of the South Wind and from whom the state of Kansas derives its name, who lived along the Kansas River for at least a century, having migrated from the Ohio Valley likely due to displacement of other tribes from white colonization. After the Louisiana Purchase, the Kaw were hemmed in by other tribes and white settlers. In 1825 and again in 1844 they ceded millions of acres to the US and were pushed first to areas in Kansas and Missouri and finally to land in Kaw City, Oklahoma. The remaining full-blooded Kaw women were sterilized by the Indian Health Service in the 1970s and the last remaining full-blooded Kaw, William Mehojah, died in 2000. The Kaw currently number around 3,100 and have a government and numerous businesses in Kaw City with an economic impact of around $200 million annually.4 


We acknowledge the history of the Osage, who hunted buffalo and raised crops, living in earthen lodges across the Midwestern parts of the country. These “People of the Middle Waters” moved west to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi after the 17th century as a result of Iroquois invading the Ohio Valley.9  In the 19th century, the US Government forced the Osage to cede millions of acres, in 1810 they relocated near what is now Council Grove, KS where an Indian Mission at one point housed 50 boys. In 1872 they were forced to move to Osage County in Oklahoma.5 The discovery of oil and gas on their land allowed them to be one of the more prosperous Indian Nations, at the same time falling victim to white schemes to marry Indian women and murder them to inherit their land and oil rights.6  Today, the Osage Nation has 13,307 enrolled tribal members, with 6,747 living within the state of Oklahoma.

The Oceti Sakowin (Lakota, Dakota, Nakota) 

We acknowledge the history of The Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee SHAW-koh-we], or The Seven Council Fires, and its Lakota group who once occupied land that became Missouri, and who now reside in South Dakota. Oceti Sakowin, historically known to some as the Sioux Nation or in the Native language, Oyate, is a Native confederacy speaking three different dialects: the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota. Oceti Sakowin land was enjoyed and used in common by all members of the tribe for survival and sustenance. Communal tenure was a principle and norm of each tribe that established boundaries in the territories on which they lived. They defended these boundaries from encroachment by other tribes and later by foreigners. Every member of the tribe born into the group had a lifelong right to live on that land and became a custodian to preserve and protect the land for future generations.7

According to Oceti Sackowin Essential Understanding and Standards, “Tribal values are intrinsically rooted in tribal sovereignty and land preservation. Today, tribal councils still place a high value on revitalizing Oceti Sakowin wicoun (way of life). As economic interests frequently conflict with tribal tradition and culture, careful consideration is given to the types of businesses that the tribes allow onto reservations. In an effort to address high unemployment rates, tribal councils are continually looking at economic development opportunities such as wind and solar energy, development of tribal lands, conservation of natural resources and tourism.”7  


As of 2021, the Native American population in the United States was 6.79 million, 2.09% of the entire population, within 574 tribes that are Federally recognized.8 

Forced from their lands and often stripped of their culture, we bear witness to the historic loss of these people, their heritage, and their knowledge of the land. While recognizing the part our forebears played in this history, we bear a responsibility to engender a new kind of community-based on the best in all of us, for ourselves and our planet. We have the opportunity to bring about a better future that includes present-day Indigenous communities and that celebrates their unique cultures and world-view. To this end, we have reached out to the Kansas City Indian Center, the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Blue River Forest Experience to enhance this endeavor in ways that are honorable and compassionate. 


  1. From the map Native Land Digital 
  2. Sourced from Invasion of America Map 
  3. Summarized from Kickapoo Indian Reservation 
  4. Summarized from Kaw Nation 
  5. Wikipedia article Osage Nation 
  6. Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann 
  7. Oceti Sakowin Essential Understanding 
  8. World Population Review-Native Americans 
  9. Osage Nation – Wikipedia