Kanza Tribe Lewis and Clarks Independence Creek, Atchison
Entrance to mound. Photo courtesy Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce
Mound interior. Photo courtesy Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce
Lewis & Clark Landing. Photo courtesy Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce
Lewis & Clark Pavilion. Photo courtesy Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce
200 S. 10th, Atchison, KS
[map this location]
The Kanza Indians and Lewis and Clark shared a common area at different times making Independence Creek one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas History.
THE KANZA TRIBE
When white explorers and traders first visited the area that would become
The Kanza's Independence Creek settlement was noted as the main village of the tribe as far back as 1673. By the time French explorer Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont arrived in 1724, it was considered an old village and the capital of the Kanza nation.
LEWIS & CLARK
When Lewis and Clark came down the Missouri River on their historic government-sponsored exploration of the
Ironically, both times the Lewis and Clark expedition visited the area (July 1804 and Sept. 1806), the Kanza would have been at their buffalo hunting grounds to the west. When the expedition came through here in 1804, Clark noted the size of the village and his questions about the village being empty in his journal.
Today, a recreated Kanza dwelling and a Lewis & Clark historic site are side by side near the point where Independence Creek flows into the Missouri River.
The historic Kanza dwelling was eclectic, using the most available
building materials. Their early migration from the areas near the
The Kanza lived in permanent villages, cultivated crops like beans, pumpkins, potatoes, melons and corn. Though fish, fowl and dog meat were important sources of food for the Kanza, they participated in the nomadic practices of other plains tribes. The entire tribe made two hunting trips to the hunting grounds each year, using buffalo and deer skins to construct tipis for shelter during the long expeditions to the high plains.
START AT ATCHISON'S RIVERFRONT PARK
The historic site at Independence Creek is at the end of a ten-mile round-trip loop from Atchison's Riverfront Park. Start the trail at the beautiful Riverfront area where you'll find wide walkways and a stunning view of the river and its surrounding bluffs. An open-air pavilion, built for Lewis and Clark's bicentennial celebration in 2004, features an interactive touch screen computer where visitors can access information about Lewis and Clark, the Missouri River, the Kanza Indians and the Atchison area. It's located at Commercial Street and River Road.
Hikers, cyclists and history buffs should all be interested in making the 10-mile round-trip trek to the Independence Creek area once inhabited by the people who gave their name to our state. Along the way, markers tell about Lewis and Clark's expedition and the early history of the area.
LEARN MORE AT THE ATCHISON COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
The Kanza lodge and Lewis and
The Atchison County Visitor Center and Historical Society is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (10 a.m.-4 p.m. before May 1); Sunday noon-5 p.m.
Suggested donations for museum admission: Adults $2; children $1; senior citizens $1.50; family $5.
Sources: Jason Nichols, Atchison Chamber of Commcerce and Chris Taylor, Atchison County Historical Society
Photos courtesy Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce