The Kansas City Indian Center Essay

The Kansas City Indian Center Essay

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The Kansas City Indian Center (Heart of America Indian Center), a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation, has been serving the Kansas City’s American Indian population since 1971. The mission of the Kansas City Indian Center is to encourage the social, educational, and economic advancement of the American Indian community by promoting traditional and cultural values. It operates as the Kansas City area’s largest social service agency for Native Americans and operates as the Kansas City area’s only multi-purpose social service agency for American Indians. It has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operated Native American center of 46 such operating centers in the nation. The Center began as a social club called the Council Fires of Greater Kansas City. Following World War II, with government relocation and training programs — and a formal policy in the early 1950s of reservation termination — American Indians were relocating to urban areas. To help sustain the cultural and spiritual beliefs of their tribes, local elders began a social club. The center was founded as a formal, tax-exempt, 501(c) (3) organization in 1971 to accept federal, state, and private funds for social programs. I volunteered for many of their programs, including the food distribution and Cultural Night, in order to gain insight and asked the board and staff questions as they arose. I selected this organization, as I wanted to learn more about the cultural history of the Kansas City Region. I had learned some about American Indians through growing up in Kansas City.
The Kansas City area has been home for thousands of years to the American Indian community, the region’s oldest ethnic population. In Missouri, census data estimates the American Indian...


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...d invader. This is evident in the internal conflicts that have torn apart tribal relations and generations of American Indians. The increase in cultural nationalism of American Indians shows movement toward healing and reconciliation. The logo of the Kansas City Indian Center acknowledges this with “The head of the spiritual being is synonymous with the eye of the eagle, and both watch over the smaller physical Indian, who is protected by two shades of spirit wings… representing traditional ways and modern life”.
Overall, the Kansas City Indian Center reflects the postcolonial theory as it works to assist American Indians to adapt to the unraveling of regulations and displacement by the United States government in order to reclaim “home” and their culture. There are still many conflicts to resolve and support needed including social, welfare, and housing programs.

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