Funds sought for monument to local Indian chief
Historical groups and a local Eagle Scout candidate are hoping the community will step up to honor a local Potawatomi Indian chief who left his mark not only on the Culver-Lake Maxinkuckee area, but in the state of Kansas as well.
Descendents of Chief Nas-waw-kee, whose village occupied land on the east shore of the lake, will be honored in September at the annual Trail of Courage festival in Fulton County. In conjunction with that event, Shirley Willard of the Fulton County Historical Society began an effort to place a monument in the chief's honor in the Culver area. The town park was settled upon as a location of public visibility, and a boulder placed at the start of the "Indian trails" between the park and Culver Academies' campus.
Wording on the plaque is expected to be as follows: "Prominent chief and speaker Nas-waw-kee (or Nees-waugh-gee) signed several treaties with the U.S. government. In 1836, he ceded his two sections of land just east of Lake Maxinkuckee and agreed to go west within two years. Spelling the chief's name as Nas-waw-kay, the artist George Winter sketched him at the Lake Kee-wau-nay (now Lake Bruce) treaty council of July, 1837, where he gave a heart-rending speech on why the Indians did not want to leave. In August, Nas-waw-kee called the white people together at his village and gave a tearful farewell address, shaking everyone's hand. His band joined Chief Kee-wau-nay to be conducted by George Proffit to Kansas. The 47 Potawatomi journeyed from August 23 to October 23 without loss of life (unlike the 1838 Trail of Death, on which 42 died of 859 Potawatomi on the trip). At Nas-waw-kee's urging, Father Christian Hoecken established St. Mary's Mission at Sugar Creek, Kansas, where the Potawatomi lived,1838-1849: a historical marker there remembers the chief as Nesfwawke. The Mackety family, from the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, are Nas-waw-kee's known descendants. Erected 2011 by Eagle Scout Bryan McKinney."
Bryan McKinney, a senior at Winamac Community High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 229 there (several Culver families are also members of the Troop) took an interest in obtaining permission to place the monument in the park, located and had placed the stone in an approved spot, landscaped around it, and helped arrange for and assist with the mounting of the plaque honoring the chief.
"I didn’t want an easy project to earn the rank of Eagle," says McKinney. "I was also excited about it because it was a historical monument that could be there for the next 100 years. When I had just bridged over from Cub Scouts and joined the Boy Scout troop six years ago, I remembered another Eagle project where the Scout placed a Civil War monument at the Courthouse Square in Winamac, and I was always impressed with that project. So a historical monument honoring the Native Americans that lived in this area hundreds of years ago seemed a very worthwhile project."
Willard, in conjunction with the Antiquarian and Historical Society of Culver, is seeking donations to offset the $700 cost of the plaque itself, the last step in the monument process.
Those wishing to contribute to the project are encouraged to contact Shirley Willard, Fulton County Historian, at 574-223-2352 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or send donations to the AHS at P.O. Box 125, Culver, IN, 46511. The AHS is a 501-C3, non-profit organization.