The 2018 Kansas Delaware tribal meeting was held at the George Meyn Community Center in the Wyandotte County Park. A pre-meeting time to get acquainted began at 8:30 a.m. with coffee, milk, juice and pastries for members and guests. Tribal registration was handled by Steve and Carolyn Rowe.
Our usual meeting location at the Wyandotte Historical Museum was not available this year because of renovation, but the museum staff arranged for our meeting to be held at the George Meyn Community Center just east of the museum in the Wyandotte County Park. We thank the museum staff for their continued support and hospitality.
Kenny Vernoy and Jim Grinter conducted a smudging ceremony for members and guests before the meeting. Kenny explained the purpose of smudging and the use of sage, sweetgrass and various sacred herbs by Native Americans.
Attendees introduced themselves and their families, and Chief Linda Graff called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.
Becky Taylor presented a video recapping events from the 2017 Kansas Delaware meeting.
Susan Webb presented a language lesson of commonly used Lenape words and phrases. She provided a handout of phonetic pronunciation to help people as they practiced the Lenape words. Kenny Vernoy explained that the phonetics of the Lenape language can be difficult for English speakers because the language was first written phonetically by the Moravians and has a German influence.
Kenny Vernoy and his wife Theresa led a drumming session using one of his large ceremonial drums. The Kansas Delaware children really 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.
Secretary Kameran Zeigler read the minutes from the tribes 2017 meeting. Treasurer Sharon Schmidt gave a report with totals for the general fund, scholarship fund, sales, dues collected and expenses for the year.
The State of the Tribe report covered a number of topics:
• Chief Linda Graff has contacted Kansas State representatives and has begun the process of obtaining official state recognition for our tribe.
• Kansas Delaware Martin Weeks has been retained as attorney to represent our tribe in obtaining additional settlement monies.
• A resolution to unite the Oklahoma and Kansas Delaware tribes failed to past at the annual Oklahoma Delaware meeting in Bartlesville. There were 57.3 per cent “yes” votes, but a two⁃thirds majority was needed.
• Chief Linda Graff has received tribal records from the family of past Kansas Delaware Chief Mary Leiter. Linda is adding the information to our tribal archive.
• Carolyn Rowe, our tribal membership chairman, stated that the Kansas Delaware currently has 1,640 members with 47 new members being added since June 2017. If you are a Kansas Delaware member and have not received the new, non-expiring membership card, please send a completed membership application to Carolyn Rowe.
• Tribal Historian Steve Rowe made a sign for the north gate of the Delaware Cemetery in Eudora, Kansas. It is currently being reinforced to withstand the strong winds and weather in the area. Steve also has plans to repaint the sign for front of the cemetery.
Arlene Micucci was honored as the 2018 Kansas Delaware Tribal Elder. A video presentation detailed Arlene's work with the Lenape in New Jersey and her service as a tribal council member. Arlene was in full Lenape regalia and gave a heart warming acceptance speech which highlighted the significance of the turtle in Lenape culture. Kenny Vernoy presented Arlene with a handmade, ornate turtle rattle that he constructed for our honored tribal elder.
Don Zeigler was honored as the 2018 Kansas Delaware Tribal Veteran. A video was shown that recounted Don's military service in the United States Air Force from 1960 to 1964. Don served on the tribal council from 1999 through 2006, and initiated the Kansas Delaware Scholarship program. Because Don was unable to attend the meeting this year, tribal artisan Kenny Vernoy presented a hand-carved Mesingw to Don's niece Kameran Zeigler and nephew Brenton Zeigler, in recognition of Dons military service and work for the tribe.
Kenny and Theresa Vernoy presented Lenape blankets to Carolyn and Steve Rowe, in recognition of their ongoing and devoted work for the tribe. As tribal liaisons, the Rowes have made many trips to Bartlesville to meet with the council and members of the Oklahoma Delaware Tribe. They regularly attend the Delaware PowWow and Delaware Days in Oklahoma, and other Native American cultural activities across the midwest. The Rowes are in charge of Kansas Delaware membership rolls and work tirelessly to help members with Kansas Delaware enrollment, as well as membership in the Oklahoma Delaware, Cherokee, Miami and other tribes for which they are eligible.
Chief Linda Graff was presented with a beautiful handmade drum by Kenny Vernoy, in recognition of her enthusiastic work for the Kansas Delaware Tribe.
Tribal artisan Kenny Vernoy presented the tribe with a hand carved Mesingw, which was auctioned during the meeting to raise money for the tribe. Carolyn Rowe won the auction with a bid of $140, and then promptly donated the Mesingw back to the tribe.
The 2017 tribal scholarship for Lexi Taylor was renewed for the current year. Lexi maintained a 3.97 GPA for her freshman year at Troy University in Alabama with a major in Bio Med ⁄ Pre⁃Med studies.
Our tribal website (kansasdelaware.org) and facebook page continue to receive much traffic. They help Kansas Delaware across the nation and overseas stay in touch with the tribe and stay current on tribal activity. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any photos, news, pow wows, events and information of interest to be added to our websites.
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. An additional $50 was given to museum staff member Jeff Jennings who arranged for the George Meyn Community Center when it became apparent that the museum conference area would not be available for our meeting this year.
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
Everyone enjoyed a delicious, covered-dish luncheon provided by the Council and attending members.
Kenny and Theresa Vernoy led the Kansas Delaware in more drumming and dancing around the drum circle to finish up the day. The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
Photos from the 2018 meeting will be posted on the Kansas Delaware facebook page.
The next annual meeting of the Kansas Delaware Indian Tribe is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, June 1st, 2019, at the George Meyn Community Center, located one block east of the Wyandotte County Historical Museum in the Wyandotte County Park, 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, Oklahoma, and then attend the Kansas Delaware meeting the following weekend.