Historical Council Grove Pageant Depicts Tensions Between Native Americans And Santa Fe Trail Settlers

By Frank J. Buchman
First settlers in Council Grove on the Santa Fe Trail were intruders on Native Americans already long established area residents.
“Times when Native American and Euro-American cultures collided 150 years ago are being relived at Council Grove,” said Sharon Haun.
“Voices of the Wind People is an historically accurate depiction of the tensions surrounding those events,” the committee chairperson explained.
The pageant will be in the new Neosho River Amphitheater Friday and Saturday evenings, September 17-18, at 8 o’clock.
“Live Santa Fe Trail fiddle music played by Flint Hills Fiddler Derrick Dody begins at 7 o’clock, so plan to arrive early,” Haun encouraged.
Performances take the audience back in time to the mid-1850s presenting changes affecting two vastly different cultures. As the Kaw people were being relocated and European American settlers were populating Council Grove, co-existence proved to be intense.
“Their stories are told in alternating perspectives of the Kaw Nation and the new settlers,” Haun said.
Chief Allegawaho, recorded by his descendent Luther Pepper, narrates the Kaw story. Seth Hays, performed by Council Grove resident Mark Brooks, recounts the rural town’s version.
Written by Ron Parks and first performed in 1992, the dramatization eventually became a biennial production until last year.
“Coronavirus issues caused cancelation of that scheduled presentation with the last pageant in 20218,” Haun said. “However, this year’s pageant will be even more special as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Santa Fe Trail.”
This multimedia production incorporates historic photos, images of the prairie landscape, and video montages. There will be live-action re-enactments of a pack train, wagon train, stagecoach, gunfights, dancing, tepees, and a Kanza campfire.
Entirely volunteer staff and performers present the two-hour production “Dozens of members of the Kaw Nation travel to Council Grove from Kaw City, Oklahoma, to portray their ancestors,” Haun said. “They enact village scenes and perform dramatic roles and traditional dances.”
Cushions or blankets are encouraged as the seating in the new amphitheater is built of native limestone. Smaller bag chairs could also be accommodated.

Friday and Saturday daytime activities include a historical wagon show, and a mountain man encampment,” Haun said. “Speakers and demonstrations are scheduled to discuss and present skills needed on the original Santa Fe Trail.”
There will be a Sunday activity, Faith on the Trail, which will take place when a circuit rider arrives for a church service in the original Santa Fe Trail ruts.
Additional details and ticket information can be found at voicesofthewindpeople.com, as well as santafetrail200.com, and on Facebook.

Voices of the Wind People pageant will depict tension of Kaw people and early day settlers Friday and Saturday evenings, September 17-18, at Council Grove. Kaw Nation people will travel from Kaw City, Oklahoma, to perform dramatic rolls for the Voices of the Wind People pageant.

A wagon train and stagecoach are among features for Council Grove’s Voices of the Wind People pageant September 17-18.