This is the last intact building of the Kaw Agency near Washunga. The building was constructed in 1873, shortly after the Kaw Tribe arrived at their new reservation north of the Arkansas River.
The single story gable front is constructed of native stone, the central entrance is located beneath a stone archway. There is a 2/2 wood window to each side of the wood paneled front door. The windows have stones sills and lintels, there is a brick slope chimney. A rear wood sided addition was added at a later date.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places - April 11, 1973
Kaw Bark Lodge - ca. 1880
The Kansa/Kaw Tribe, are also known as "the wind people"
The tribe originally lived along the lower Kansas River in villages consisting of conical-shaped lodges.
The Kaw Tribe, formerly known as the Kansa (or Konza) at one time stretched over 20 million acres across northern Kansas into Nebraska and Missouri. In 1825, a treaty was signed by the Kanza Tribe in which the Tribe "agreed" to sell a large portion of its land base and relocated to a reservation near present day Topeka, Kansas. The Kansa lived a semi-nomadic life, depending primarily on buffalo hunting and some farming for their food. They obtained social prestige and honor only in combat, and their chiefs were chosen for bravery and wisdom. The culture of the Kansa was that of the Plains people of the central United States. Typical of the Plains culture area, adolescent boys underwent a puberty rite known as the vision quest-a period of isolation meant to invoke supernatural images. Religious beliefs were centered around spirits associated with nature. Highly developed burial customs were followed; the body was placed in a shallow grave with food, clothing, and other needs for the afterlife.
By 1840 the lands of the Kansa had been acquired by the United States government and incorporated into the so-called Indian Territory, to which many Native Americans were being removed. In 1846, the Kaw numbering about 1,600, signed another treaty and moved southwestward near what is known today as Council Grove, Kansas.
In 1872 the Secretary of the Interior of the U.S. government, Columbus Delano, came to Council Grove to inform the Kaw that they would be removed from Kansas. Kaw chief Al-le-ga-wa-ho made a plea with the following words: "Great Father, you whites treat us Kan-zey like a flock of turkeys, you chase us to one stream, then you chase us to another stream, soon you will chase us over the mountains and into the ocean." The chiefs appeal was ignored, and in June 1873, the six hundred remaining Kaw were removed south to a reservation in Indian Territory, where they have since remained. Of those, an epidemic of small pox killed another 400.
By 1904, the Kaw had agreed to accept allotments which allowed for each member in the Tribe to receive 405 acres of reservation land with the remaining land to be opened up to white settlement.
In the early 20th century the Kansa population was estimated at about 1300. Their numbers steadily decreased, decimated by frequent warfare and disease. By 1990 only 1037 people identified themselves as Kansa. Of those, 59 percent lived in Oklahoma. A celebrated tribal member was Charles Curtis who was vice president of the United States under President Herbert Hoover.