Land Acknowledgement

Land Acknowledgement

The Watkins Museum of History — headquarters of the Douglas County Historical Society—stands on land that at various times was home to the Kaw/Kansa, Wazhazhe (original tribal name, Ni-U-Ko’n-Ska)/Osage, and Shawano/Shawnee peoples. Lawrence and Douglas County have hosted other Native American nations as well, including the Lenape/Delaware, Wandat/Wyandot, and Kiwigapawa/Kickapoo. As an organization committed to preserving local history and facilitating civic engagement in our community, the Douglas County Historical Society recognizes the need to acknowledge and tell the stories of these and other Native American peoples. Additionally, we acknowledge that actions of the state and federal governments and citizens throughout the years have robbed Native Americans of their lands, cultures, and often lives. We support the efforts of Haskell Indian Nations University, Native American tribes and nations, and other institutions to protect Native Americans, their cultures, and rights.

Exhibit Projects & Updates

Indigenous Lawrence: Nations, Peoples, and Place

Watkins staff are working with Native American advisors and historians to create a permanent exhibit titled Indigenous Lawrence: Nations, Peoples, and Place. The exhibit will tell stories of local Native American cultures and history extending from the present day back to thousands of years ago. When finished in 2025, the exhibit will feature physical displays and computer interactives on two floors of the museum. Every phase of exhibit planning and design will draw from the expertise of 18 different historians ad tribal members, and this advisory team is growing. Haskell Intern Kennedy Murphy is also an integral member of this project.

Women of Lenape/Delaware Nation, about 1875
Donor: Gertrude Welch, 2009.110.004

Yielding to government pressure, the Lenape/Delaware people adopted Euro-American customs but maintained many of thier cultural practices. To retain their tribal identifty, they were forced to relocate many times.

Plaques once mounted to the Sacred Red Rock, Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe.
Donor: Kaw Nation

On August 29, 2023, community members gathered in Watson Park for the official acknowledgement of the return of the
Sacred Red Rock, Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe, to the Kaw Nation.

The Watkins became stewards of the plaques once mounted to the Sacred Red Rock, and will use them to build a permanent exhibit about indigenous heritage in Douglas County.