Lawrence to Return Prayer Rock to Tribe

The Lawrence City Council has unanimously approved a measure to return a Native American tribe’s prayer rock that was transformed more than 90 years ago into a monument honoring Kansas settlers.

The council voted 5-0 Tuesday to return the rock to the Kaw Nation, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The move came after the tribe sent a letter to the city last month requesting the rock’s return.

Before the Kaw people were forcibly moved from Kansas to what is now Oklahoma in 1873, they held ceremonies and gatherings before the 23-ton boulder known as the “Big Red Rock.”

The boulder was moved from its site at the confluence of the Kansas River and Creek to a city park as part of Lawrence’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1929.

It was fitted with a plaque listing the names of the abolitionist settlers who founded the city.

It its letter, the Kaw Nation said the intent is to bring the rock to Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park in Council Grove as part of a long-range goal to develop the site into an educational resource for visitors to learn about the state’s original inhabitants.

The city said it intends to work with the tribe and community partners to seek grants to pay for the relocation of the rock.