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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas

1844
2012

 

 

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The Story of Kansas City, Kansas

"New Laws"

We who live in Kansas are proud to say that our people have never been ruled by a dictator.  The early Indians made their own laws and governed themselves.  The Wyandots had a council of one chief and six council members elected by the tribe.  There was an ironclad rule about the office of the chief, which was never broken.  No one could be elected to this high place who did not have some Indian blood in them.

The council took care of the money belonging to the tribe and decided how it would be spent.  The ferryman was hired and paid by the council.  If a member broke the law, he was tried and punished by this group.  A couple who wanted a divorce or persons who quarreled over money or property had to have such matters settled by the six council members.

New problems arose with strangers passing through the village every day.  The leaders called together the men who were voters and over eighteen years of age.  They met at the Council House in June, 1951, and selected thirteen of their number to write a new set of laws.  Such a set of laws to govern a group of people is called a constitution.

John M. Armstrong had been a lawyer in Ohio and had brought with him a copy of the constitution of that state.  The Wyandots used it as a model for their new laws.  The rules they adopted called for the election of a head chief, four councilmen, two sheriffs, and a secretary to handle the affairs of the tribe.  This constitution proved so satisfactory that it remained in use for twenty-one years before any changes were needed.

Ready for Citizenship

Return to Index for "The Story of Kansas City, Kansas" by Nellie McGuinn

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Contact the History Webmaster - Patricia Adams

History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012

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