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Photo of Chief Charles Little Coyote on horseback carrying an American flag
Chief Charles Little Coyote in Peace Treaty Parade

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Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty
A Local Legacy

"The government of the United States desires peace, and its honor is here pledged to keep it. The Indians desire peace and they now pledge their honor to maintain it."

Those words were part of the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty of 1867. That treaty was drawn between the U.S. government and the five tribes of Plains Indians -- the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche in the city of Medicine Lodge in southern Kansas.

The Plains Indians had settled in Medicine Lodge, which, for them, was a sacred area. The different tribes of Indians peacefully shared a "lodge" on the banks of the river, which they believed had the power to cure ills. This treaty allowed for white settlements in the area, opened it up to railroads, and fixed the southern boundary of Kansas.

Today, the treaty is celebrated every three years with a colorful outdoor pageant re-enacting the events that led to the signing at the place where the Medicine River and Elm Creek meet on the Kansas prairie, now designated Memorial Peace Park. Events also include an Intertribal Powwow featuring Native American dance competitions, crafts, and food booths. The powwow is open to all tribes, with special recognition given to the five Indian tribes that signed the treaty.

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