The Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Festival and Pageant is much more than a festival; it’s a tradition that pays homage to the land and the people who have claimed Medicine Lodge, Kan., as their own throughout the centuries. It provides an opportunity to see, feel and hear— to really experience — the history.
This year’s event takes place Sept. 24-26 in the prairie setting of Memorial Peace Park, just east of Medicine Lodge. 2021 commemorates the 27th presentation of the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Pageant. A tradition dating back to 1927, the pageant was originally held every five years until 1961, when participants began presenting on their current rotation of every three years.
Updates and activities
This year’s festival and pageant brings many new updates and features for an unforgettable three-day event. New updates include a permanent intertribal powwow grounds, arena and building upgrades, and connectivity among the three main locations within the park.
The 2021 festival features the Peace Treaty Pageant, the Medicine Lodge Intertribal Powwow, the Working Ranch Cowboys Association and Foundation (WRCA)-sanctioned Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo, the historical Night Show, and — new this year — a rough-stock-only “Bulls and Broncs” event. Memorial Peace Park will have nightly live music and dancing, children's activities, special food, vendors and a mountain man encampment.
Peace Treaty Pageant
With performances each of the three days of the festival, the Peace Treaty Pageant is the principal event of the weekend. This grand scale reenactment takes place in a scenic natural amphitheater near the original site of the Great Peace Council of 1867 between the U.S. government and the five Plains tribes: the Arapaho, the Cheyenne, the Comanche, the Kiowa and the Kiowa-Apache. The pageant is an invitation to watch 300 years of history unfold, and celebrates the area's diverse heritage of indigenous peoples, discoverers, explorers, and settlers. The scene depicting the signing of the treaty of 1867 is performed by actual descendants of the original tribal signers of the document.
Produced by the citizens of Medicine Lodge and their families, you will witness the Spanish exploration with Coronado, and watch Lewis and Clark and Zebulon Pike come alive before you. The indigenous people (through actor portrayal), uneasy with the encroachment into their territories, must defend their beloved homelands. Real-life cowboys drive a herd of cattle, and settlers move West ahead of the impending railroads. The entrance of the lengthy wagon train into the amphitheater creates an awesome scene, but not all journeys in the covered wagons were peaceful, and the cavalry had to rescue settlers from attack.
While you’re there
There is so much to explore in this southwestern Kansas community. Head downtown for events and shopping on Red Brick Main Street, see one of eight equatorial sun dials in the U.S. at Medicine Lodge Junior-Senior High School, and experience 1870s stockade life at the Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum. While you’re there, stop next door for a tour of the home of Carry Nation, the hatchet-wielding, temperance advocate heroine. Find solace as you drive along the Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway, gawking at the weathered red hills and picturesque vistas. For more information, visit peacetreaty.org. Document your journey and share your travels with #ToTheStarsKS.
Kansas Tourism aims to inspire travel to and throughout Kansas to maximize the positive impacts that tourism has on the state and local communities. For more trip inspiration and to order a free Kansas Travel Guide, head to travelks.com.