Kansas Delaware Tribe of Indians

2017 Annual Tribal Meeting Summary

Wyandotte County Historical Museum
Bonner Springs, Kansas
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

The 2017 Kansas Delaware tribal meeting was held at the Wyandotte County Historical Museum. A time to get-acquainted began at 8:30 a.m. with coffee, juice and pastries for members, families and guests. Tribal registration was handled by Steve and Carolyn Rowe. Each year the museum provides the Kansas Delaware tribe with a meeting area complete with internet access, digital projector, screen, kids’ craft area and kitchen facility. We thank the museum staff for their continued support and hospitality.

Smudging and Introductions

This year’s meeting began with a a prayer given by Bob Deister and a smudging ceremony for members and guests conducted by Kenny Vernoy. Kenny explained the purpose of smudging and the use of sage, sweetgrass and various sacred herbs by Native Americans.

Chief Linda Graff called the meeting to order at 9:25 a.m., and attendees introduced themselves and their families. Becky Taylor showed a entertaining powerpoint presentation that recapped highlights from last year’s meeting.

Drumming session

Kenny Vernoy and his wife Theresa led a drumming session using one of the large ceremonial drums that Kenny made himself. The Kansas Delaware children particularly enjoyed their turn on the drum. The traditional “Soldier Boy” song was dedicated to the veterans in attendance who joined Kenny and Theresa on the drum.

Minutes and Treasurer’s Report

Secretary Kameran Zeigler read the minutes from the tribe’s 2016 meeting. Sharon Schmidt gave a treasurer’s report with totals for the general fund, scholarship fund, dues collected and expenses for the year.

State of the Tribe

Chief Linda Graff gave a State of the Tribe report that covered a number of topics.

• Tribal historical records, reports and photos are being digitized and will be given to the Wyandotte County Historical Museum. The museum will archive these items to maintain an ongoing history of the Kansas Delaware tribe. Anyone with historical records are encouraged to make copies and send them to Chief Linda Graff.

• The total number of tribal council members has been decreased from 11 to 7 members, so that a quorum can be met during quarterly council meetings. A number of council members live quite a distance from the Kansas City area and have been unable to attend meetings in the past. Though some members are no longer on the council, their ongoing participation in tribal business and affairs is appreciated and will continue with a number of special committees being formed.

• Chief Graff has talked with the Executive Director of the Kansas Native American Affairs Office regarding state recognition for the Kansas Delaware Tribe. He stated that state recognition would require so much legislative action that it probably would never happen. When asked about the possibility of federal recognition, he stated that receiving federal recognition is an expensive and lengthy proposition for a tribe, and there is never a guarantee of success. Chief Graff is also in contact with lawyers regarding trust money for the Kansas Delaware which is being held by the federal government.

Updates on these matters will be discussed at future council meetings and the information posted online for tribal members.

Membership Report

Carolyn Rowe, our tribal membership chairman, stated that the Kansas Delaware currently has 1,671 members with 90 new members being added since June 2016. Forty-eight members on the Tribal roll have incomplete lineal ancestry on the roll. Efforts are underway to complete their records. If you are a member and have not received a new, non-expiring membership card, please furnish Carolyn Rowe with a completed membership application with your current contact information for the Tribe’s files.

Steve Rowe has been helping several Kansas Delaware in their effort to get enrolled with the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He stated that descendants of the Lewis Ketchum family are eligible to apply for membership in their Tribe.

Oklahoma Delaware

Carolyn Rowe, our tribal liaison with the Delaware Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma, gave a report concerning her ongoing interaction with that tribe. Carolyn, her husband Steve Rowe, Jim Grinter and Chief Linda Graff continue to attend council meetings and activities in in the Bartlesville area to stay in contact with the Oklahoma tribe. Carolyn reported that Chief Brooks of the Delaware Tribe of Indians stated that he hopes to bring the Kansas Delaware into their tribe. Chief Brooks said that a referendum vote may occur at their general council meeting in November that would allow Kansas and Idaho Delaware to apply for membership in the Oklahoma tribe.

Tribal Historian

Steve Rowe, our tribal historian, is monitoring repair of the gate at the Delaware Cemetery in Leavenworth County north of Eudora, Kansas. Becky Taylor made a motion to donate $200 of tribal funds to provide a sign for the cemetery gate and Kenny Vernoy suggested that members of the tribe be present and give a ceremonial blessing upon completion of the gate.

Tribal Artisans

Kenny Vernoy and Jim Grinter were officially recognized as Kansas Delaware Tribal Artisans by proclamation of the tribal council. Chief Linda Graff presented each with a Certificate of Recognition.

Cultural Presentation

Joshua Falleaf, Dean of the College of Humanities at the Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, gave a demonstration of traditional Delaware Stomp Dancing. Josh’s good-natured and amusing approach to teaching stomp dance protocol was ideal for the many novices in attendance. Everyone moved outside to the the courtyard in front of the museum to follow Josh and learn how to respond to his songs. This is the second stomp dancing session that Josh has given for the Kansas Delaware and everyone enjoyed the event.

Beadwork Session

Kansas Delaware youth this year participated in a beadwork session conducted by Theresa Vernoy during the annual meeting. At the end of the business meeting the youth displayed their beadwork creations for everyone.


Our Facebook and website pages continue to receive much traffic and help Kansas Delaware across the nation and overseas stay in touch with the tribe. Please email jimgrinter@gmail.com with any photos, news, pow wows, events and information of interest to be added to our websites.

Wyandotte Museum Donation

In appreciation of the ongoing support of the tribe by the Wyandotte County Historical Museum and staff, a donation of $150 was made to the facility.

Tribal Council

The Kansas Delaware tribal council, leadership and responsibilities for the upcoming year were established as follows:
Linda Graff, Chief
Carolyn Rowe, Second Chief, Rolls/Membership
Kameran Zeigler, Secretary
Sharon Schmidt, Treasurer
Bob Deister, Ceremony
Jim Grinter, Technology/Art
Ken Vernoy, Culture/Art

2018 Meeting Date

The next annual meeting of the Kansas Delaware Indian Tribe is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, June 2nd, 2018, at the Wyandotte County Historical Museum, Bonner Springs, Kansas. This date allows members to travel to Oklahoma for the Delaware Pow Wow which is held on Memorial Day weekend at the Fall Leaf grounds near Copan, Okla., and then attend the Kansas Delaware meeting the following weekend.

Photos from the 2017 meeting are posted on the Kansas Delaware facebook page.