The Pawnee Indians once controlled two-thirds of Nebraska and half of Kansas.
At the Pawnee Indian Museum, "You have an archaeological site up here. You are seeing exactly where they lived. You can just put up a building and showcase artifacts, but we sure wouldn't pick this spot to put a museum. We're a little off the beaten path," explained Museum Adminstrator Richard Gould.
The museum lies on the actual site of a Pawnee village in the 1820's, where nearly 2,000 Pawnee called home.
"This is very unique. It's the only museum in Kansas or Nebraska telling about one of the indigenous tribes living the way they wanted to live."
About 40 to 50 lived homes that served as religious centers with the smoke holes up top as a way to view the stars.
"You just basically went with what the environment gave you and the earth lodges were really good for the environment here," said Gould.
Pawnee Indians used this village only in the spring and fall when they weren't on buffalo hunts. The floor of the museum was left just the way it was back then. "On the floor you are going to see corn, parts of guns, knives from utensils, just different items they left behind, exactly where they left them."
The Pawnee Nation controlled much of Nebraska and Kansas, making them vital parts of our nation's history. "They were the dominant power out here on the Central Plains for hundreds of years."
The Pawnee moved north and abandoned the village. Years later it burned to the ground, but the museum is here to tell their stories.
The museum is open year round for visitors.
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