The Darkest Period

Sunday, June 1, 2pm

The Darkest Period: The Kanza and Their Homeland, 1846-1873.

Ron Parks – Author and Kanza Historian.   Book review and book signing.

Ron ParksRon Parks will read a few pages from chapter five of his recently published book, The Darkest Period: The Kanza Indians and Their Last Homeland, 1846-1873. This section of the book describes the three Kanza villages, the clan system, dwellings, Kanza names for nearby streams, ways in which the tribe related to their richly variable homeland on the central plains, and the U.S. government’s imposition of a linear grid on the Kanza Reservation in the form of land allotments which served as a symbolic means of rationalizing the conquest of the land and its natives. Parks will also provide a brief commentary about the section he reads and the process of writing the book. 

A fifth-generation Kansan, Ron Parks grew up in Minneapolis, Kansas, where he graduated from high school in 1967. He earned a B.A. degree in English at Kansas State University in 1972. He began employment with the Kansas State Historical Society in 1981 as assistant director of the Fort Hays State Historic Site, where he served as director from 1982 through 1988. He was executive director of the Kansas Eisenhower Centennial Commission from 1988 through the completion of the centennial in October 1990.

In November 1990 Parks was appointed director of the Kaw Mission State Historic Site in Council Grove where he served until 1994. In April 1994 he was transferred to Topeka to become the assistant director of the Society’s Historic Sites Division. In July 1999 Ron was reassigned to the position of director of the Kaw Mission State Historic Site. In 2004 he retired from the Society. He resides in Manhattan, Kansas, with his wife, Judy.

Ron Park's book - The Darkest PeriodDuring his time at the Kaw Mission, Ron wrote the script for the orientation video, The Original Kansans and created the successful historical drama, Voices of the Wind People. He has authored two series of monthly “150 Years Ago” articles: one about the Kaw Mission, Kanza Indians, and Council Grove 1850-1851 and the other about the Kanza and Council Grove, 1858-1860. His book, The Darkest Period: The Kanza Indians and Their Last Homeland, 1846-1873, will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in the spring of 2014.

See the Press Release

This event is co-sponsored by the Kansas Historical Society and the Friends of Kaw Heritage, Inc.  Connect with us!

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