Preserving the future of their past has been one of the themes of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, according to Chief Billy Friend.
As part of that historical preservation effort, today the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma presented the Wyandotte County Museum a check for $10,000. The museum is located at 126th and State Avenue inside the Wyandotte County Park at Bonner Springs.
Friend said one of his goals as a tribal leader is to make sure the next generations of the Wyandotte Nation know their history. For the past 10 years or more, he has brought busloads of Wyandottes to the museum to learn about their history, he said.
The Wyandottes were here primarily from 1843 through 1867, when the group split and some of the Wyandotte Nation moved to Oklahoma.
“This is an important part of our history,” Friend said. The period of 1843 through 1867 also was an important part of the history of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, and included the Civil War years. Those 24 years had a strong effect on the tribe, and there was a split in the Wyandotte Nation that occurred during those years, he said.
“Thank you for all you have done in helping us preserve the future of our past,” Friend said in presenting the check today.
The donation of $10,000 was presented on behalf of the tribe and the 7th Street Casino, which is located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, at 7th and Ann Avenue.
Mayor David Alvey, who received the check with Museum Director Trish Schurkamp, expressed his thanks to Chief Friend and the Wyandotte Nation.
The circumstances that brought the Wyandottes to this area were not happy, and were fairly brutal, Alvey said, but “sometimes great things come from that, and your presence here now and your friendship here now is a great thing.”
“Today we are being honored by the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma and Chief Billy Friend,” Schurkamp said. Over the past years, the friendship that the museum and the Wyandotte Nation has built has prided itself on honesty, trust and stability, she said.
“I am and will forever be humbled by this alliance,” Schurkamp said.
Schurkamp said the $10,000 check will not be used for museum operations, but will go to a special Wyandotte County Museum fund that will help to fund exhibits and museum needs.