Workshop to invite public input on future of Robinson Park in Lawrence

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Following the Sacred Red Rock’s move to the Kaw Nation, the future of Lawrence’s now-vacant Robinson Park will be decided with community input.

Iⁿ‘zhúje‘waxóbe — the Sacred Red Rock — was successfully moved to its home at Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park in Council Grove, Kansas on March 20. Jay T. Johnson, who’s a member of the project leadership team, provided the update to the Lawrence City Commission on April 2.

The massive red Siouxan quartzite boulder had stood in Robinson Park since it was taken from its natural location at the intersection of the Shunganunga Creek and Kansas River near Tecumseh nearly a century ago. It holds deep historical, cultural and spiritual meaning to the Kaw Nation.

Robinson Park now sits empty, no longer displaying the stolen object. (Read more about the project and its history at the links below.)

During the upcoming workshop, community members are asked to share their thoughts on Robinson Park’s new design, ways it’s accessed and stories it should represent moving forward.

Suggestions regarding the park’s name, which was to honor the first Kansas governor, Charles Robinson, will also be discussed. Robinson later became superintendent of what was then called Haskell Institute. It was a boarding school where Indigenous children were forced to abandon their heritage, language and traditions, and assimilate. 

Led by the project leadership team, participants in the workshop will “explore the place currently known as Robinson Park, considering its histories, ecology, uses and accessibility,” according to the Facebook event page.

The upcoming workshop, Reimagining Robinson Park, is scheduled for Sunday, April 21.

It’ll begin at 3 p.m. at the park, 4 W. Sixth St., and then move across the street to Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., for the remainder of the event from 4 to 5:30 p.m. It’s free to attend and open to the public.

Feedback from the workshop, and from community engagement events this spring, will contribute to a proposal on Robinson Park’s future. In October, leadership team members are set to provide another update to the Lawrence City Commission.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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