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'Drums Along the Wildcat'
Event honors Native culture, heritage in Kokomo
Sept. 23, 2023 -- In 1840, the drums were silenced and the dancing stopped. On Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, the drums and dancing began again at Foster Park in Kokomo, Indiana. (IMAGE: Kelly Lafferty Gerber, Kokomo Tribune, Sept. 25, 2023) NEWS RELEASE (PDF) | PROMOTIONAL FLYER (PDF)
KOKOMO LANTERN: 'The day the drums were heard again' (Sept. 27, 2023)
‘Serving Natives, Educating Communities’ is aim
of third Kokomo Native Initiative event
April 10, 2023 -- Join us Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 2 p.m. when the Kokomo Native Initiative presents “Serving Natives, Educating Communities” at Indiana University Kokomo in Kokomo, Indiana.
This two-hour information session and panel discussion will cover topics, resources and information important to Native people in Indiana. The event will also offer details about current laws and legislation.
“About two-and-a-half percent of Howard County’s residents identified as Native or some portion of Native on the last federal census,” said Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. “The Kokomo Native Initiative was created expressly to educate and inform not only these Native families and individuals, but also to help the overall population better understand the issues and legislation affecting our community today.”
The featured guest at the event will be the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma (scheduled to attend). The Peoria will share information about tribal history and effects of removal, services for tribal members, and traditions and customs.
Also, Indiana state agencies and local representatives will share up-to-date details on topics such as Department of Natural Resources protocols and procedures. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis is slated to provide an update on current programs and activities. Plus, information will be shared about laws and legislation regarding the marketing of Indian art and craft products within the United States.
“We’re honored to be joined by the Peoria Tribe and the statewide organizations,” said David Foster, president, Kokomo Early History Learning Center, an alliance member. “The Native-focused information to be shared will be so valuable for this community.”
ABOUT THE EVENT
This event, the third in a series, is sponsored by Kokomo Native Initiative, an alliance of organizations in Howard County, Indiana, including the City of Kokomo, the Howard County Historical Society, Indiana University Kokomo, and the Kokomo Early History Learning Center, Inc. The group supports the social, cultural, community and economic development initiatives of the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission (INAIAC) by creating programs and activities to educate the local community and to help Native people learn more about services and support available to them in northcentral Indiana.
Kokomo has a unique place in Indiana history, being the last-named county seat of the last-named county on the last communal land of the Miami Tribe of Indians. All of Howard County (originally named Richardville for Maawikima Jean Baptiste Richardville) lies in the residue of the Great Miami Reserve. Although tribal government was forcibly removed from these ancestral homelands by 1846, removal could never erase Native identity and culture. Miami tribal names remained for Indiana’s last county and its county seat at Kokomo.
August 10, 2022 -- From the Kokomo Tribune: “When we talk about something that was way back in the beginning of the community, I think it makes people say, ‘I wonder about my family. I wonder about my roots.’ And it just keeps that conversation going, which is a great thing.” -- David Foster, president, Kokomo Early History Learning Center. (Elizabeth Foster image courtesy Howard County Historical Society)
April 22, 2022 -- Local historian Gilbert Porter makes introductions during the Kokomo Native Project: Heritage and Homeland panel discussion at Indiana University Kokomo on April 21. (Kelly Lafferty Gerber, Kokomo Tribune)
April 22, 2022 -- Indiana University Kokomo partnered with the Kokomo Early History Learning Center to focus on the hidden history of Indiana’s native people, hosting a panel discussion featuring representatives of three area tribes.
Kokomo Lantern Native History Project highlights heritage
WRTV-6 Indianapolis Kokomo launches project to recognize Native American heritage
Kokomo Native Project: Heritage and Homeland event will be a Gathering on Native Land
(Posted April 11, 2022) KOKOMO, Indiana – Join us Thursday, April 21, 2022, at Indiana University Kokomo, when invited delegates of Indiana Native tribes gather on ancestral homelands here to discuss the history and heritage of Native peoples past, present and future.
Also attending will be representatives from the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission (INAIAC). Two panel discussions are planned at IU Kokomo at 2:30 and 6 p.m.
“Kokomo has a unique place in Indiana history, being the last-named county seat of the last-named county in the state,” said Tyler Moore, mayor of the City of Kokomo and a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. “We will be honored with the presence of our many tribal neighbors here. The gathering will be an ideal opportunity to discuss Native unity and sovereignty.”
According to Gil Porter, a local history writer representing the Kokomo Early History Learning Center, Inc., Kokomo and all of Howard County today lie within the Great Miami Reserve, the last communal land of the Miami Tribe of Indians.
“Organizing the 19th state in the union meant eliminating Indians statewide through treaty and policy,” Porter said. By 1844, he noted, the results of Indian removal reached the Wildcat Creek when a portion of a small reserve at the Rapids of Wildcat became the county seat of Richardville, later Howard, County. “We have the record of a documented effort to exempt Miami families from being forcibly removed from their homes here, an effort that failed,” he added.
But removal could never erase Native identity and culture, according to Mayor Moore of Kokomo. “It’s important to remember that Miami tribal names remained for Indiana’s last county and its county seat at Kokomo,” Moore said.
Honoring that heritage is the theme of the event. The public is invited to attend.
ABOUT THE EVENT
This event is sponsored by The Kokomo Native Project, an alliance of organizations in Howard County, Indiana, including the City of Kokomo, the Kokomo Early History Learning Center, Inc., the Howard County Historical Society, and Indiana University Kokomo. The Project creates programs and activities in support of INAIAC to educate the community and to help Native people learn more about services and support available to them in northcentral Indiana.
CONTACT: Gil Porter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sept. 30, 2021 -- Diane Hunter, tribal historic preservation officer for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, shared details about the past, present, and future of the Miami Indian Tribe during an event at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021: "Remembering Removal: Kokomo, Indiana, and the Last Communal Homeland for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma." An edited version of the presentation with Kokomo history information is presented below, or watch the full video (One hour and 20 minutes).
Feb. 10, 2021 - The earliest reference to an African American in Howard County, Indiana, is found in the “Register of Sales of Wabash Canal Lands.” (This story ran as part of the Kokomo Perspective's annual Black History special section.)
Howard County 175th Anniversary
Jan. 3, 2020 - A version of “Kokomo: Village on the Wildcat,” originally published by the Howard County Historical Society in the May 2019 issue of Footprints, is now the official history for the City of Kokomo (CityOfKokomo.org). The text was co-written by the Learning Center and Historical Society, with guidance and support from the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
May 1, 2019 news release available on the Howard County Historical Society site.
The Man Kokomo
Researchers at the Myaamia Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, have created a family history that provides valuable clues to the village or band leader Kokomo, a source of much speculation since the mid-19th century, and of special interest to residents of the town in Indiana named for him.
To learn more about the man Kokomo, download the May 2019 issue of "Footprints," available from the Howard County Historical Society.
Also see, Myaamia Community History and Ecology Blog: Kokomo and His Family
MORE KOKOMO HISTORY ...
(Artwork Courtesy Marcia K Moore, Ciamar Studio)
The Kokomo Early History Learning Center, Inc. is an Indiana-based public benefit corporation formed in December 2017 to educate residents and guests in north-central Indiana about the role of Kokomo in early Howard County, and to inspire them to learn more about the area's history.