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Revising History: Native American Missions In Kansas

Tai Edwards teaches history at Johnson County Community College.
Tai Edwards teaches history at Johnson County Community College.

Sitting on the Old Santa Fe Trail, the town of Shawnee Mission was originally that: a mission for members of the Shawnee tribe who were transplanted from their native territory.

The story of federal Indian policy and missions is a tale of clashing cultural perspectives. On one side, there's the story of brave, compassionate missionaries who sacrificed to provide native people with a better life through Christianity. But in the eyes of many, forcibly removing people from their land, re-settling into Kansas colonies and converting them amounted to cultural genocide.   

Tai Edwards is an assistant professor of history at Johnson County Community College. She's studied Kansas' missions and their impact on gender roles in native communities. She'll be discussing Native American Missionization in Kansas at the Shawnee Town Museum on Tuesday, May 8 at 7pm.

This story was produced for KC Currents, which airs Sundays at 5pm with a repeat Mondays at 8pm. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KCCurrents podcast.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
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