By Lori Potter
Flatwater Free Press 

Pawnee scouts being recognized for protecting pioneers


September 28, 2023

Lori Potter | Flatwater Free Press

A dead tree along the Fort Kearney State Historical Park driveway is the canvas for Superintendent Gene Hunt's brother Darwin of Arcadia, who has painted the likeness of a Fort Kearney-era soldier. A few other tree soldiers are works in progress.

KEARNEY – Americans have recognized military veterans in vastly different ways over the past 247 years. They've thrown parades for some and scorned others.

But the Pawnee scouts, who protected pioneers, freighters and railroad workers in Nebraska during the mid-19th century's great migration west, were largely forgotten outside the Pawnee Nation in Oklahoma.

"Those scouts were the very first in our tribe to serve in the military, so we hold our veterans on a high pedestal, almost like chiefs," said Pat Leading Fox, head chief of the Pawnee Nation Chiefs Council. "We hold them up in high e...

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