Part 14 of the Americas Connected series
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
The Midwestern academicians, who wrote all the Wikipedia articles on the so-called “Earthlodge Peoples” of the Upper Missouri River, consistently state that they originated “somewhere” in the Midwest, without any proof other than each other’s speculations. In truth, 100% of the archaeological, linguistic and archival evidence places the Kansa, Mandan, Arikara, Oto, Osage, Paunee and Quapaw hundreds of miles elsewhere when Europeans first began to explore Southeastern North America. It is yet another case of the Old Guard of anthropology ignoring the evidence, when it conflicts with their religious beliefs.
The Kansa and the Chickasaw are the only federally-recognized tribes that were mentioned by the chroniclers of the De Soto Expedition. Both the Florida and Georgia Apalache are mentioned by 16th century European explorers, but neither is federally-recognized as a distinct tribe today.
During the middle and late 20th century archaeologists excavated three Kansa village sites along a riverside trail used by the De Soto Expedition. The oldest definite Kansa village site was settled around 1300 AD. Sixteenth century European artifacts were found in the village site and its environs. After the Kansa moved farther west, other Native Americans lived at this location until 1832.
The archaeologists were primarily interested in finding proof of De Soto’s conquistadors being there, not in learning more about the origins of the Kansa or Kaw Nation. Nevertheless, they did prove that the Kansa’s ancestors were agriculturalists and full blown participants in the Southeastern Ceremonial Mound Culture prior to migrating onto the Western Plains. Their archaeological reports, however, were obsessed with the few days that De Soto’s expedition stayed there.
It is known that the Kansa migrated to this village site from an island in a river in another state, which is now mostly under the waters of a man-made reservoir. Archaeologists have found artifacts on that island, which are identical to those at the 1300 AD village site, but can’t absolutely prove that the Kansa were living there. On the other hand, the 1300 AD site was named Kansaki, Kansakee or Gansagi until the early 1800s!
It is interesting that the archaeological profession did not relay this information to the Kaw Nation, whose headquarters is now in Kaw City, Oklahoma. In a telephone conversation three years ago with the tribe’s Cultural Heritage Preservation Director, she had been told by academicians that their ancestors were “Woodland Culture hunters and gatherers, “somewhere in the Midwest.”
Where was the oldest known Kansa village located?
- Poverty Point World Heritage Site near Pioneer, Louisiana
- New Echota National Historic Landmark near Calhoun, Georgia
- Shiloh National Battlefield Park near Shiloh, Tennessee
- Mud Island National Historical Site near Memphis, Tennessee
- Toltec Mounds National Historical Landmark near Little Rock, Arkansas