Chief Lucy of the Kaw Indians
Lucy Tayiah Eads was born in 1888 in a tipi on the banks of Little Beaver Creek in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). She was the adopted daughter of Chief Wah-Shun-Gah who served as principal chief of the Kanza from 1885 to 1908. Lucy attended Haskell Indian School from 1901 to 1908. When she left Haskell she was a trained nurse. In 1922 Lucy was elected Chief of the Kaw tribe – the first woman Chief of the Kaw. This was before Indians were made citizens of the United States. She served until 1934. The setting of the performance is 1955 in Lawrence, Kansas. Lucy and her husband, John, are preparing to move back to Oklahoma after a long separation from her tribe. Lucy is packing for the move and runs across an old hat box full of memorabilia. She starts reminiscing about the struggles of her people and her life growing up in two very different cultures.
About the Presenter:
Pauline Sharp is a citizen of Kaw Nation and past vice-president of the Kaw Nation Cultural Committee. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Mid-American All-Indian Center in Wichita, Ks. Sharp has researched and studied the history and culture of the Kanza People, from whom the State of Kansas took its name. She tells the story of the Kanza (Kaw) people through the character of her grandmother, Lucy Tayiah Eads. Pauline retired at the end of 2012 from a long career in Information Technology.
Audience: 5th Grade through Adult
Length: 45-60 minutes
Fees: Reasonable - negotiated for each contract.
In her one-person performance, Pauline Sharp embodies the spirit of her grandmother, Lucy Tayiah Eads, first and only female Chief of the Kaw people from 1922-1934. She passionately expresses the pressures and struggles facing the Kanza in a time of great societal change and challenges in Lucy’s personal life. For anyone interested in history, Sharp’s portrayal of Chief Lucy is an enlightening and inspiring delight.
James Pepper Henry
American Indian Cultural Center and Museum
Pauline Sharp is a time traveler. The beauty of her presentations is that she takes audiences with her, offering insights into the Kanza way of life, spirituality, celebrations, betrayal and family life. Her transformation from Pauline Sharp to her grandmother Lucy Eads is riveting. You simply cannot believe it is the same person. But after hearing Chief Lucy speak, you leave understanding how close we came to losing an entire Native American culture and tribe, and will celebrate along with Pauline and Chief Lucy the wonderful comeback story of the Kaw Nation.
Kansas history writer and lecturer
For more information please see the Kanza Chief Lucy website: