The Wichita Indians: People of the Grass House
The Wichita Indians shared the Great Plains, in the central United States, with a variety of animals, including millions of bison, elk, and birds.
The Wichita built their homes of poles and prairie grass, which grew up to 12 feet tall. These unique, beehive-shaped grass houses were exclusive to the Wichita, housed extended families, and could last up to 14 years. Tools, fashioned from chert and bison bones, were used to construct homes and cultivate garden plots.
“It is Susan’s fondest hope, and mine as well, that this volume will serve not as an introduction to the archaeology of the Lower Walnut Settlement, but will pique the interest of readers to explore the rich history and ethnography of the Wichita peoples.” —Marlin F. Hawley (Project Director on the Arkansas City, Kansas, project for the Kansas State Historical Society from 1991 to 1997.)
About the Author
Susan A. Holland, a native of Topeka, Kansas, received a degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff.
After pursuing a career in the west, southwest, and Hawaii, she returned to Kansas where she was employed by the Archeological Office of the Kansas State Historical Society on a field project at Arkansas City, Kansas. The excavation contained numerous Wichita Indian sites.
Susan was accustomed to seeing visible remains of prehistoric features in other areas where she had worked. Wichita sites in Kansas were a different story. Perishable house remains had completely disappeared, and only hidden sub-surface cache pits remained. These pits proved to be a rich source of artifacts and information about the Wichita Indians.
About the Photographer
For Mike Rooney, being reared on a farm outside of Topeka, Kansas, instilled a deep love of the outdoors and Mother Nature. With an Economics degree from Washburn University, Mike survived thirty-five years in the corporate world when he “retired” for his thirty-five year passion for photography.
Along the way Mike received some very nice recognitions. In 1997, Mike won an international contest hosted by Kodak that resulted in his photography hanging in the National Geographic “Hall of Fame” along with some of the most outstanding photography in the world. His work has also been published in several Kansas! calendars and magazine.