Did you know there is an ancient lost city of native Americans, and an archeological dig to explore it, in Kansas — near Arkansas City, about an hour from El Dorado?
Etzanoa is a historical Wichita city, located in present-day Arkansas City that flourished between 1450 and 1700.
Sandy Randel, director of the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum in Arkansas City, will present history regarding the great settlement of Etzanoa during Butler Community College’s Life Enrichment series at 9 a.m. Feb. 4.
"We are currently the second largest site in the U.S. and Canada," Randel said. "If the town goes farther north than Winfield, that is far as our drones got ... It it goes to the north it will overtake Cahokia (a site in Illinois) and become the largest site in the U.S. and Canada."
Also on the schedule that day is Ernestine Krehbiel, who will speak about the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote at 10 a.m.
Krehbiel, along with a few friends, will perform a skit and then present about what women endured 100 years ago to gain the right to vote.
In April 2017, the location of Etzanoa was discovered when a local teen found a cannonball linked to a battle near Ark City that took place in the year 1601. Local researchers used this artifact as evidence that enabled them to pinpoint the location of Etzanoa — the site of an encounter between the Wichita tribe and Spanish conquistadors.
"The chief decided to cross the river and take with them a peace offering, offering cornmeal as a peace offering," Randel said in a presentation to the Wichita Pachyderm Club in 2019. "The encounter was, at the beginning, very friendly. (Juan de Onte) found the Wichita to peaceful and settled."
Onte, however, had been told by a rival tribe to expect being attacked at Etzanoa. Onte responded to that notion by taking four hostages, including the Wichita chief. When the chief did not return, the townspeople fled to the north out of fear.
Onte crossed the river the next day, finding an empty town. Another tribe crossed the river behind him, and ambushed him upon his return. There was a three-hour battle between Onte and the Escanjaque tribe at Etzanoa.
Recent discoveries have confirmed the location of the settlement with new Spanish translations from the conquistadors who visited the area in 1601.
Randel has worked with the Etzanoa project since its inception in 2015
Life Enrichment meets on the first Tuesday morning of the month during the school year. Area adults enjoy high-quality speakers and performers, along with a light breakfast and coffee during each regular meeting. Meetings take place in the Clifford/Stone Community Room at the Hubbard Welcome Center on the El Dorado campus. Meetings are open to everyone and there is no charge to attend. Those who attend regularly are encouraged to register so they receive monthly newsletters announcing the programs. New members are always welcome.
For more information about Life Enrichment or the February 4 program, please contact Trisha Walls at 316-218-6355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.