Monday, July 15, 2013

Mini Trip to the Prairies

The middle of July and wanderlust forms while heat dampens the real urge to move. Like an elk in rut season, the Ruby Sliver snorts in the garage with sights on the West. A mini road trip was in order.

We headed for Wichita but by dropping down into Oklahoma first. We headed west out of Bartlesville (yes, a shame we did not stop!) for Pawhuska. This small town we passed through a few years ago on our way home from New Mexico and always wanted to see more of it. We were too tired then for looking. So we did it on our mini trip.

The town has seen better days, has that down at the heels look for small town America right now. I’ll wager soon it will on the map again for this building as Ree Drummond is restoring it right in the middle of town. Followers of the author/cook will not find this news, but I did .

Pawhuska, named after an Osage chief, is the home of the Osage Nation. We looked up a small museum in the collection of Osage Nation offices. It is small and their claim to fame right now is ten busts of Osage citizens done by the Smithsonian in the early 1900’s. The Native American sculptures are in storage, and the Smithsonian is selling to tribes as their money allows. They are beautiful busts of noble living people from that time.

I know the Osages from history here in Missouri before they were pushed into Kansas. I grew up in Kansas about ten miles or less from Osage Mission which was founded by St. Louis Jesuits to educate the Osage. Also north of my town was a settled of Osage who lived near the Neosho River. My farm boy buddies often found arrow heads when they plowed. When the Osage were again pushed in to Indian Territory, they bought their own land rather than be beholding to the government. Ah, and there was oil under that land later.

The land around Pawhuska is gorgeous rolling hills for grazing. I was so enthralled I forgot to take pictures until we were almost at Ponca City where the land turns a bit, gradually forming the rich farm ground for row crops leading into Kansas. I always love the prairie and the plains where you see vast horizons of sky.

                                      Mock up of a wrangler's bunkhouse
I hated to leave the Osage man who was telling me Osage secrets, but we had to move on down the road. Once over the border into Kansas we stopped at the Cherokee Strip Land Rush museum. A very small museum also. One wall had a picture of Native Indians with a title of A New Beginning referring to the land rush that opened up lands for settlers. Somehow I think that should have been Endings as far as the indigenous people were concerned since now the White Man would be settling land once used for hunting and passing into other hunting lands.
                                         Old cracker tin in prairie home display

It was the end of the day and 102 as we headed into Wichita traffic. We found the Watermark Bookstore with ease, had a sandwich, and to show our exhaustion, I could not even look at the books! We headed on to our son’s to rest up for the American Indian Festival Pow Wow the next day.


Rebecca said...

Quite a trail you're on my friend! I enjoyed the information AND the photos. 'Course, I'm always interested in Kansas news (that being my birth state....).

Sioux said...

It sounds like day one of your mini trip was fun, Claudia.

Susan said...

Wow, Claudia. That was quite a day. Sounds like you had a really super, albeit exhausting, time.

Historical trips are so interesting, aren't they?

Have a blast at the pow wow. They have always fascinated me. Susan

Donna Volkenannt said...

What a wonderful mini vacation. I love visiting small museums. They have so much character. Thanks for posting about your journey.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

It seems that you and the mister are always off and running. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. Happy trails! :)