Kansas Delaware Tribe of Indians

2019 Annual Tribal Meeting Summary

George Meyn Community Center
Bonner Springs, Kansas
Saturday, June 1st, 2019

The 2019 Kansas Delaware tribal meeting was held at the George Meyn Community Center in the Wyandotte County Park. A pre-meeting time to get acquainted began at 8:30 a.m. with coffee, milk, juice and pastries for members and guests. 50/50 raffle tickets were sold and bidding for a silent auction were made during this pre-meeting time.

Smudging and Introductions

Chief Linda Graff called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. by drumming for everyone to gather outside for a smudging ceremony conducted by Ceremonial Chief Kenny Vernoy and Former Chief Jim Grinter. Kenny explained the purpose of smudging and the use of sage, sweetgrass and various sacred herbs by Native Americans.

Following the smudging ceremony, everyone gathered in Kansas Delaware ancestral lineage groups and family photos were taken of each group.

Becky Taylor presented a video recapping events from the 2018 Kansas Delaware meeting.

Minutes and Treasurer’s Report

Secretary Kameran Zeigler read the minutes from the tribe’s 2018 meeting. Treasurer Sharon Schmidt gave a report with totals for the general fund, scholarship fund, sales, revenue collected and expenses for the year.

Enrollment and History

Second Chief Carolyn Rowe reported that 1,953 Kansas Delaware are currently enrolled, including 13 new enrollees added to the tribe during the past year. Tribal Historian Steve Rowe explained the process he has initiated to have the Delaware Cemetery in Eudora, Kansas, declared a historical site.

State of the Tribe

Chief Linda Graff gave the State of the Tribe Report, including information on the status of a pending award settlement held in trust by the U.S. Government. Chief Graff discussed state and federal recognition, incorporating in Kansas, and goals for 2020. A number of educational programs about the history of the Kansas Delaware will be conducted during the coming year in the Kansas City area.


The 2018 tribal scholarship for Lexi Taylor was renewed for the current year. Lexi is maintaining a 3.97 GPA at Troy University in Alabama with a major in Bio Med ⁄ Pre⁃Med studies.


The Kansas Delaware tribal council, leadership and responsibilities for the upcoming year were established as follows:
Linda Graff, Chief
Carolyn Rowe, Second Chief, Rolls/Membership
Kameran Zeigler, Secretary
Sharon Schmidt, Treasurer
Bob Deister, Ceremony
Jim Grinter, Technology/Art
Brenton Zeigler, Culture

Special Presentations

Kenny Vernoy was recognized for his years of service on the Tribal Council and the many important things he does for the tribe. Carolyn Rowe presented Kenny a Pendleton blanket displaying symbols of the sun, moon, stars and rain clouds, representing an honored relationship to the spiritual world. A dynamic central image on the blanket is a sacred circle with a cross, a universal symbol of the origin of humankind and the four directions, symbols so important to Native American culture. Theresa Vernoy was presented a silver feather necklace for all of her volunteer work for the tribe. The ongoing dedication and hard work of the Vernoys for the Kansas Delaware Tribe is greatly appreciated.

Tribal Elder

Recognition was given to our Honored Tribal Elder Ron Zeigler. After a video highlighting Ron’s life and tribal involvement, a walking stick hand-carved by tribal artisan Kenny Vernoy was presented to to Kameran Zeigler and Brenton Zeigler, who represented their father at the ceremony. Ron Zeigler was unable to attend due to injuries suffered in a recent motorcycle accident.

Tribal Veteran

Recognition was given to our Honored Tribal Veteran Jim Deister. A video of Jim’s life and military career was shown, and included his extensive civic activities following medical discharge from the Army. Jim was severely injured in the Vietnam War but has not let that slow him down in helping other veterans over the years - - a tribute to Jim’s courage and strong character. Jim was joined by his family in accepting a handmade foot locker crafted and presented by Kenny Vernoy.

Drumming session

Following a covered-dish luncheon, Kenny and Theresa led with a drumming session, inviting everyone, young and old, to participate. This is always a highlight of the yearly meeting with members joining the Vernoys in a Lakota Healing Song, followed by tribal youth participating in drumming a children’s song, and veterans joining in the drumming of Soldier Boy, an honored song for veterans.

Cultural Presentation

Drumming was followed by a historical and cultural presentation by Curtis Zunigha, Cultural Director, Delaware Tribe, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. His daughter, Erica Zunigha Magee, and his granddaughter, Cayla Magee, helped Curtis with his presentation.

After a short history lesson on the origin of the Delaware Tribe, Curtis demonstrated the tying and playing of a water drum used for singing traditional Delaware songs. Erica and Cayla displayed their shell shakers, discussed how they’re made, and showed steps used to make the wonderful shaker sound.

Curtis discussed the origin and history of the Bean Dance and Stomp Dance. He explained the significance of the central fire (and symbolic fire used for indoor dancing). Curtis also handed out a language sheet with the Lenape words for different Delaware dances as well as phrases used to get dances started. Everyone enjoyed participating in the dancing, which included a Bean Dance, Stomp Dance and Women’s Dance. Curtis ended the presentation with the beautiful Honor Song.

2020 Meeting Date

The next annual meeting of the Kansas Delaware Indian Tribe is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, June 6th, 2020, at the George Meyn Community Center, located one block east of the Wyandotte County Historical Museum in the Wyandotte County Park, Bonner Springs, Kansas.

The Tribal Council is discussing adding a mid-year (winter) meeting. It will be a cultural, fun event rather than a formal business meeting. Details will be announced on this website and on our facebook page.