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The History of our Public Schools
Wyandotte County, Kansas




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The Story of Kansas City, Kansas

"Your City Today"

(Reminder: This was written in 1961)

Native American Links

 Native Americans - Web Site for grade schoolers at the University of Arizona

 Native American Links for Kids and Homework Help from the Highland Park Public Library (including Parents and Teacher's Links)

Other cities and towns in Kansas that you know were founded by white settlers.  Your own city was not.  It was first a small Indian village which later grew into the second largest city in the state.

The name Wyandotte is as well known to you as the name Kansas.  You live in Wyandotte County and many of you will some day go to Wyandotte High School.  The downtown section of Kansas City was once the town of Wyandotte.  At some time or another your parents have had dealings with a business firm that has Wyandotte as part of its name.

Wyandot, Wyandott, or Wyandotte - however you spell it - is an old, old name that goes back to the days before history was written in America.  It was the name of an Indian tribe that lived long ago on the eastern coast of Canada.  Because this group of Indians influenced so greatly the city where we live, we will want to know many things about them.

In those far-off days the members of this tribe were divided into groups, called clans, and lived under laws set up by themselves.  Legends handed down among the Wyandots say that the different clans were descended from god-like animals and birds.  Some of the names they bore were:  Big Turtle, Little Turtle, Mud Turtle, Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Deer, Porcupine, Stripped Turtle, Snake or Hawk, Highland or Prairie Turtle.  [Annotation:  See information about historical Turtle Hill area of Kansas City, Kansas.]

The early Wyandots were a tribe of many thousand members who were hunting and fishing in Canada long before the French came to America.  They were a powerful tribe, related to the Hurons, and a part of the great Iroquois Nation.  Constant warring with other Indians drove the Wyandots south and west along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

After two or three years of wandering, they reached the country around the Niagara Falls and Detroit.  At the close of the War of 1812, the Wyandots who were friends of the English, remained in Canada.  Those who were loyal to the Unites States settled at Upper Sandusky in northern Ohio.

It was in the years after they moved to Ohio that the Wyandots underwent a great change.  This change was so remarkable that it set them apart from every other Indian tribe in America.  There were two reasons for the change.

  1. Conversion of the Wyandots to the Christian religion.
  2. Adoption, over a long period of time, of white persons into the tribe (either my marriage or kidnapping).

The Conversion

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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