Our family took a winter jaunt north to Nebraska for our son's high school basketball tournament. We stopped halfway at a park to have a picnic in the snow (because it was a beautiful bright day) and watch a little plane taxi and take off above us.
The official Kansas day stop was at Pawnee Indian Village Museum, a building encircling a large excavated Indian winter home.
Before entering we had to play in the snow some more, shoving each other into the large drift. There was no snow in our part of Kansas, so we were indulging in it here!
The museum guide was very helpful and interesting showing us a painting of what the Pawnee village would have looked like in its day, overlooking a river, positioned on a bluff above. It was a neat vantage point! Apparently over 2,000 natives lived here, but in 20 years were gone, with 20,000 white settlers replacing them in Republic County. The current population in this county is only about 4,500 now.
We giggled at the buffalo chart that showed how all its parts were used by the Pawnee, some as strange as water bags, paint pencils, and baby rattles. They used up blood in soup. ick.
Our next historical visit was to Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Nebraska.
The entrance to one main building has states hanging along the wall showing how large of areas were homesteaded by the part that is missing.
The girls worked on their Junior Ranger badge booklets, filling in information from the various displays. We watched a short film and peeked inside a replica cabin of those determined homesteaders of long ago.
They did it! Even Meg received a pack of trader cards telling the story of different families starting out on a land claim, a bracelet, and a badge. This is the National Park's 100th year, so the Jr. Rangers got an extra centennial badge!
As for the basketball games...we have an entire post dedicated to the basketball season coming up here in a couple weeks, as the season concludes...