Bugle Notes.. News from the Fort Wallace Museum

By Jayne Humphrey Pearce

This past Friday and Saturday, the Fort Wallace Museum grounds once again sprang to
life -this time with the sights and sounds of a Native American village. 10 traditional tipis
glowed in the sun, as well as military tents and a complete 1800s chuckwagon set-up.
During Friday’s 4th Annual Education Day, 800 local K-12 students rotated between 12
demonstration stations at the sound of a gunshot from an 1860’s rifle. The sounds and
smells of outdoor cooking mixed with the echo of the drum and singing across the
grounds. Stations included Kaw language, an Indian trader’s tent, native weapons and
tools, buffalo hunting, the Hunkpapa Sioux tribe, a painted pony, the military presence
on the plains, drumming and song, ledger art and Cheyenne tradition, a Cheyenne
women’s tent and Lakota Sioux language and camp life.

The event planning group – the Guardians of the Fort Wallace Museum – worked for
many months to assemble the tipis on exhibit. Many are owned by area history
enthusiasts; one belonging to Jake Bauer had been hand-painted by Logan County
artist Tonya Lamb. Another was the tipi belonging to the late Fox Still and Shari Still and
was assembled by their son Yancy. Yet another lodge was borrowed from the Prairie
Museum of History in Colby. The largest tipi on the grounds was about 32 feet high – the
cover was used in Cheyenne ceremonies (including the Sun Dance) during the 1990s. It
was provided by the family of featured artist Mah’Havists GoodWarrior Deer. Guardian
member Jake Bauer made a trip to Nebraska to secure over 100 sturdy lodgepole for
the event.

On Saturday, around 300 homeschoolers were hosted, along with 300 of the general
public. The afternoon included a most interesting panel discussion on “What does it
mean to Indian in the modern world?” Moderated by Deb Goodrich, these inter-tribal
panelists ranging in age from 17 to 65 shared their aspects of their lives, including how
their culture is frequently misunderstood or caricatured. This two-part video is available
on our Fort Wallace Museum Facebook site for the next month.

The afternoon also included performances by the Cheyenne/Kiowa Greasy Leggings
Dance troupe as well as Dennis Rogers the Spirit Dancer. Thunderheads developed in
the sky over the chuckwagon dinner, but the severe weather held off until the after the
concert by 16-year-old Ava Rose Johnson of Oklahoma. This concert was made free for
the community through grants assembled through Wallace County Economic
Development (Lissa Sexson) and the Wallace County Visitors Bureau. This series of
three concerts is being made possible by the Dane G. Hanse Foundation, the Wallace
County Foundation and Midwest Energy. Good food was provided through the weekend
by Smoky Hill BBQ, Los Tacos Gordos and Doc Jones and Company’s award-winning
chuckwagon cooking.

This event would not be possible if it were not for the 70 staff and volunteers who gave
of their weekend. It would also not be possible without the support of the following
sponsors: the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the Wallace County Foundation, the Pete
Henry Foundation, the Friends of the Cottonwood Ranch, Midwest Energy, Dk Clark, Hill
Trash Pickup, American Implement of Oakley, Case IH of Oakley, Western Kansas
Valley, Wakeeney Livestock, Premier Ag of Weskan, Helena Chemical, Hennick
Lumber, T-Mart, CHS-United Plains Ag, BBB Charolais, Russ Martin/Servitech, A&A
Farms, Logan County Implement and Goetz Trucking.