The information in this column is a rather unique opportunity to write about a fellow Legislator’s dedication to Potawatomi history. It is well-known to many Kansas Tribal members that CPN District 4 Legislator Jon Boursaw often travels throughout the State of Kansas, showcasing a historical display that depicts Citizen Potawatomi history.
Boursaw takes pride in the display, which is accompanied by his excellent presentation. Legislator Boursaw has provided the project for schools, museums, libraries and various organizations. In fact, he actually began this journey prior to becoming a legislator. His first presentation was in 2011 in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. Boursaw did not become an elected official until 2013. The distinguished Legislator’s project comes from a passion to “get the word out” about the history of his beloved Tribe. Dozens of hours have been spent on the endeavor since 2011.
The above journey description is an introduction to an additional project that Boursaw presently has in the Topeka area … to provide signage for Burnett’s Mound. That brings us to the reason that Boursaw visited CPN the week of April 9. He arranged a meeting with Dr. Kelli Mosteller, Director of CPN Cultural Heritage Center, and Lakisha Meade, Director of CPN FireLake Designs, to discuss appropriate signage. I was invited to sit in on the discussion and was very impressed with the outcome. FireLake Designs will produce the signage at cost, and CPN will donate the signage for Burnett’s Mound. The cost will be approximately $3,500 including installation.
Burnett’s Mound was previously known as Webster’s Mound but was renamed in the 1800s for Chief Abram Burnett of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Many believe that Abram Burnett is buried at the mound, but this is not accurate. The mound is located at the Skyline Park, which is in the southwest part of Topeka, adjacent to Interstate 470. The Shawnee County, Kansas Commission voted in 2017 for improvements to be made to Skyline Park. A new parking lot has now been built at the foot of the pedestrian path, which allows walking to the top of Burnett’s Mound. The signage will be a huge plus for the attraction. To Jon Boursaw’s knowledge, there has never been a sign to identify Burnett’s Mound, although the mound is listed on maps and other informational material.
I hope you enjoy this information that contains both a bit of history and a current project at CPN. I enjoy writing about the accomplishments that our people deliver on an ongoing basis. As usual, I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your Vice-Chairman.
(Black Bird Woman)