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A Womans View
Judith Tabler blk.tif

I told Fred that this wonderful Fall weather deserves a rest from yard work. In fact, there is an awesome event going on this weekend at the Santa Fe Trail Museum Fort Larned National Historic Site in Pawnee County, and we are going to take part!
Listen to me friends! This sounds really wonderful. I cannot imagine presenting an event like this and it is right under my pointed nose!
This Rendevous 2016 theme this year is “Shadows on the Land; Women of the Santa Fe Trail. History! Our past!
It’s a big deal.
Becca Hiller, the museum director explained “The Rendevous History Seminar brings a great deal of prestige to the sponsoring organizations and the community of Larned. It provides us an opportunity to show the rich history of this area.”
Basically, the Rendevous seminar will explore the women who traveled, lived, and died on this historic trade route. With notable exceptions, the women of the trail are often overshadowed by their male counterparts.
We do not often get to hear about the brave women on the Trail. Let’s face the fact that behind every successful man is a strong, bright, intelligent, woman! It’s time!
The many speakers on the program are very impressive. For example, Minoma Littlehawk-Sills holds an interdisciplinary degree in American Indian Studies, among other subjects. She will share the culture and language of the Cheyenne and explore how much things have changed in the past 100 years. Littlehawk-Sills is an enrolled Cheyenne and a direct descendent of the Sand Creek Massacre, Washita Battle, and Little Bighorn.
There are so many qualified speakers and subjects, I feel frustrated that I cannot tell you about them all in this column.
Jan MacKell Collins is a writer and publisher of the subject of prostitution in the West. She will highlight the women and bordellos which kept the trip down the Trail lively from beginning to end. I told Fred, I want to listen to that one!
There will be a fashion show of ladies’ clothing at Fort Larned from 1859-1878. I am always amazed at the teeny size of these women of those times. They were small but mighty!
There will be several first person narratives. Dr. Leo Oliva will look at the African-American women who traveled the trail, both free and slave. One amazing woman was Cathay Williams, who disguised herself as a male Buffalo Soldier. Dr Oliva has many other stories and names of course.
There will be several narratives by trained historians. Kitty Frank will portray the adopted daughter of Seth Hays, a successful trader, rancher, and tavern owner on the Santa Fe Trail. We will learn about the wealthy lifestyles of investors in the heavy freighting business against the hardships of others impacted by the trail, such as the Kanza tribal people.
Dr. Michael Olsen has published extensively on the social, cultural and economic aspects of the Santa Fe Trail and trade. Using the published diaries and memoirs of women who traveled the trail over many decades, Olsen asserts that if it were not for these literate women, we would know a great deal less about the trail than we do now.
I had no idea! I guess I had not thought about that.
The list of fascinating subjects goes on and on.
Although it is too late for us to sign up for the meals, registration is still open at the door to enjoy the various seminars.
For detailed information, schedule, etc. go to and pull down Events. It is there that you will see the Rendevous details and description.
See you there! Please greet me! I will be looking for you.
Judy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and her views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. She can be reached at