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How long is Ta-na-e-ka?

Updated: 11/11/2022
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The Kaw people do not now, nor did they ever, perform a ceremony called the Ta-na-e-ka. It is a complete fabrication. Even the name, Mary Whitebird is a fabrication. It is not a Kaw name. No Kaw person, past or present, had this name. We at the Kaw Nation are in the process of contacting the publishers of anthologies that include this piece of fiction to either omit it from future printings of their school books or at least preface the story by notifying teachers and readers that there is not a grain of truth in the story. I am the director of the Kaw Language Department at the Kaw Nation in Kaw City, Oklahoma and a Ph.D. anthropologist, so I am well qualified to make these claims. Occasionally, a responsible school teacher will locate us through our website (linked below) and ask us for more information about this "ceremony," giving us an opportunity to tell them the truth. Sadly, most teachers, and students take it as fact simply because it is printed in a book. I suggest that teachers use this as an opportunity to teach students to read critically and not to accept everything they read as truth, even if it is in a volume by an otherwise responsible publisher. If you want to know more about the Kaw (also called the Kansa) Indians, for whom the state of Kansas is named, please visit our website.

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