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Miss Clara Gowing

Birdwoman:  Cynthia with antique cameraAbout the People:

“Native Americans.” When you hear those words, what comes to mind? If you live on the Plains it might be, Tipis? Horses? Buffalo? For the people who called themselves “Lenape,” none of that was true. They didn’t live in tipis, they didn’t hunt buffalo, they didn’t even ride horses - at least, not at first. The Lenape made their home in the forests. They covered their dome-shaped houses with tree bark - not buffalo hides. The rivers were their highways, and they preferred to travel by canoe. The men fished, and hunted deer; women planted corn, beans, and squash.

But with the coming of a new people, this has changed. These new people also plant crops, and often use the forests to build their houses. But their houses are rectangular, and made of logs. They cut down more trees, and plant more crops. They build things called fences, and tell tribal people not to cross them. Because of these new people, many of the tribal peoples have left the forests and moved west. The Lenape, now called the Delaware, have been assigned lands in what is now Kansas. Their women still plant, but the people use horses now, and men hunt buffalo as well as deer. In short, they have adapted, and they live. They have been promised these lands “for as long as the grass grows”, but the new people have proven to have a short memory. It is 1860 now, and after almost 30 years in Kansas, tribes of the east are once again facing removal.

Between the old people and the new stand a third group: Christian Missionaries. Firmly positioned in one world, yet at the edge of another, theirs is a story not often heard. Not all missions, or missionaries, are the same. They are as different as the peoples they serve, but the dilemmas faced and emotions felt are often similar.

About the Performer:

Lynsay Flory has always liked history. As a girl of six or seven, she would walk in the timber near her family’s home and wonder, “What would it have been like to be a girl a hundred or two hundred years ago?” Now she is finding out. From first grade’s Lewis and Clark explorations to her history major, and now her present research projects on the interactions of missionaries and tribal people, she just cannot seem to stop! Journey with her back to 1860 and discover “What would it have been like…?”

“Lynsay’s energy engages audiences and her scholarship impresses them.”  Ann Birney, Ride into History

Audience: All ages.
Availability: Varies.
Length 30-40 min. plus optional question-and-answer session

Contact information

Lynsay Flory
(785) 230-7531

This site was created in 2003 by the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historic Performers and Ride into History Cultural and Educational Project, Inc. with an Attraction Development Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing Travel & Tourism Development Division

Original site concept and development by Danny C. Boyce Computer and Network Support and Consulting, Emporia Kansas

Ongoing website maintenance performed by Megan Matile

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