Lawrence agrees to return sacred prayer rock

The Lawrence City Council has unanimously approved a measure to return a Native American tribe’s prayer rock that was transformed more than 90 years ago into a monument honoring Kansas settlers. 

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January 21, 2021 - 9:46 AM

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Lawrence City Council has unanimously approved a measure to return a Native American tribe’s prayer rock that was transformed more than 90 years ago into a monument honoring Kansas settlers. 

The council voted 5-0 Tuesday to return the rock to the Kaw Nation, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. The move came after the tribe sent a letter to the city last month requesting the rock’s return.

Before the Kaw people were forcibly moved from Kansas to what is now Oklahoma in 1873, they held ceremonies and gatherings before the 23-ton boulder known as the “Big Red Rock.” But the boulder was moved from its site at the confluence of the Kansas River and Creek to a city park as part of Lawrence’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1929. It was fitted with a plaque listing the names of the abolitionist settlers who founded the city.

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