Shunganunga Boulder (aka Founder's Rock)
The Shunganunga Boulder had tremendous significance to the Kanza, a Native American tribe that resided in the area that became eastern Kansas. In the 1920s, white residents of Topeka decided that they wanted the stone removed from its location at the junction of the Shunganunga Creek and Kansas River and placed near the state capital. Not to be outdone, businessmen in Lawrence decided to snag the boulder and place it in their city. And so, in the middle of the night, a sacred natural landmark became the property of the city of Lawrence. The city of Lawrence dedicated the rock in 1929 and added a plaque that reads: "To the pioneers of Kansas who in devotion to human freedom came into a wilderness, suffered hardships and faced danger and death to found this state in righteousness."
Shunganunga Boulder is located in Robinson Park across from the City Hall.
Backstory and Context
Due to a grant from the University of Kansas by the Mellon Foundation through its Monuments Project initiative, the Kaw tribe is currently working to organize the move of the Shunganunga Boulder to Allegawaho Memorial Heritage Park in Morris County. Lawrence and its city commissioners have acknowledged and apologized for moving and defacing the stone. This is an ongoing process, and the exact location of where the Shunganunga Boulder will be placed in the park is yet to be announced. The move was approved by the city on March 16, 2021. The resolution from the city states: “The City and County further commit to working to forge a new relationship with the Kaw Nation and all Native Peoples built on respect and honor.”
Jay Senter, "Boulder, plaque pay homage to pioneers." Lawrence Journal-World, September 19, 2004.
Kendall, Dave. A boulder’s journey: Lawrence monolith will be returned to the Kaw in thoughtful process, Kansas Reflector. May 1st, 2022. Accessed February 22nd, 2023. https://kansasreflector.com/2022/05/01/a-boulders-journey-lawrence-monolith-will-be-returned-to-the-kaw-in-thoughtful-process/.