Mehojah is by all accounts, the last pure-blooded member of the Kaw Nation
, the tribe
that gave the state of Kansas
William Mehojah is one of only about 2,500 people on Kaw Nation tribal rolls. Most have only a fraction of Kaw
The tribe -- previously known as the Konza
-- at one time stretched over 20 million acre
s across northern Kansas into Nebraska
. By 1825
, westward expansion
reduced that land to 2 million acres.
The tribe moved to what is now the Kansas, or Kaw, River valley in the early 1800
, the federal government
moved the tribe to a 100,000-acre reservation
in northern Oklahoma
. By this time disease
had reduced the number of Kaw to about 700, said JoAnn Obregon, a member of the Kaw executive council.
About 600 live on the former reservation land today.
Mehojah served in the Army
during World War II
, then worked for 35 years with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Montana
, the Dakotas, Idaho
, where he retired in 1976