Situated at the intersection of U.S. 56 Highway (Main Street) and
North K-177 (Union Street) is a unique and symbolic juxtaposition of
statuary reflecting the historical intersection of cultures in Council
Grove. On the northeast corner facing west is the Madonna of the Trail,
an Algonite stone representation of Manifest Destiny marching bravely
and triumphantly west with children in tow, taming the wilderness while
spreading Euro-American civilization across the prairie landscape.
Counterpoised on the northwest corner facing east stands the figure
of a Kaw warrior. Known as the "Guardian of the Grove," this
eight-foot-high bronze statue embodies the Native American, standing
deeply rooted in the land, but directly in the path of a powerful and
The Guardian of the Grove now stands as a reminder
of our not so distant past. It is a tribute to a Native American people
who have refused to fade away into extinction; it stands as a challenge
to future generations to preserve our history.
Sculptor Thomas Mark Sampsel donated his time and talent to
create The Guardian of the Grove for the city of
Grove. Countless volunteers have given their time and money in order to
provide needed manual labor and materials for this sculpture. Standing
now on the
Santa Fe Trail
over looking the
the past meets the present by means of a bronze statue that is filled
with symbolism. This guide is meant to help you locate the various
symbols and understand their significance to the Kansa people.
Symbols Guide to
"The Guardian Of The Grove"
The Guardian stands upon a shell shaped base.
Shells were used by the Kansa as a container for burning
smudges, which were important aspects of healing, protection, and
The numbers of twists on the side of the
leggings represent the clans of the Kansa during the 1700's.
these twists on the leggings are four sided diamond shapes which
represent the 47 upper worlds found in Kansa' beliefs.
A contrasting round shape seen within the twists symbolizes
stance of the Guardian is that of stepping forward with the right
foot. This represents
the Kansa' move into American mainstream society, and the initial
moving away from Kansa tradition.
The blanket wrapped about his chest indicates
spokesperson status to those in his tribe.
Within the fold at the top edge of the blanket
is a cross shape representing cross roads.
Many cross roads were evident in
in the latter half of the 1800's.
The Kansa people's cultures and lifestyles were
dramatically changed by westward expansion into Kansa territory.
The young warrior's right forearm has an outstanding vein
visible. The vein is
detailed after a major Native American trail, which became known as
the Santa Fe Trial. This
sculpture stands upon that trail today.
Cradled in his right arm is a long stemmed pipe held in a manner
indicating peaceful intent.
The pipe is a key tying physical and spiritual worlds together.
The braids and the pipe symbolically represent body, mind, and
spirit as it frames the aspects of the heart form a triangle.
The twisted pipe was a specific style that was utilized when
strong medicine was called for.
The Kansa people were noted healers who were respected for
their knowledge by other tribes.
Two fingers are placed upon the pipes bowl supporting the pipe and
depicting spiritual union.
A large skin robe over the left shoulder ranks an individual as a
speaker who has represented himself well.
The four folds in the robe represent the four directions-North,
South, East, and West.
The seven points on the robe represent the seven stars of the
Pheiades which were significant to the Kansa people.
The points are also symbolic of seven directions or bends in the
The contours of the robe reflect the type of landscape often
favored by the Kansa Indians such as the Flint Hills.
The numerous beads of the necklace represent the Kansa people.
The three strands of necklaces represent the three main aspects of
the treaties embraced by the Kansa.
The medallion on the necklaces features symbols representing the
Around the outer edge of the medallion are symbols representing
the seven main clans that relocated to the reservations in Oklahoma.
The sun symbol, which is one of a circular shape with a small
circle in the middle, is also present within the medallion.
The three rings in each ear represent the sacred burial sites lost
due to treaties and promises that were broken.
The Guardian has the traditional Kansa roach style haircut in the
shape of a deer's tail. Braids
were commonly worn in pairs originating out of the lock at the back
of the head.
The overall posture is indicative of turning.
The Guardian is preparing to head in a new direction, which
relates the changes in the circumstances that were affecting the
downward slant of the feather in his hair is indication of the
wear's peaceful intentions.
the shadows of the robe are actual signatures of current day Kansa
tribe members that signify their presence in today's society and
their approval of this sculpture, which honors their heritage.
concrete pedestal base is in a circular shape, which represented the
twelve points created by the brick walk surrounding the base
represent twelve basic sides of the universe in Kansa beliefs.
completed the walkway around the Guardian will depict a keyhole,
which is a medicine symbol.
NOTE: It was the sculptor's intention to plant specific plants that
relate to Kansa history and early settlers around the statue and include
four stones of red, yellow, black, and white placed as symbols of all
races and cultures.