The road to Santa Fe featured on KTWU – Osage County Online | Osage County News

The road to Santa Fe featured on KTWU

Spotlighting the Santa Fe Trail during its bicentennial, The Road to Santa Fe airs at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, on KTWU/Channel 11, in Topeka. Produced by Dave Kendall, a former host of the “Sunflower Journeys” series, the documentary explores the forces that spawned the trail and shaped its development. Jennie Chinn, executive director of the Kansas Historical Society, joins a number of knowledgeable historians who tell the story.

In 1821, a group of traders from Missouri ventured to Santa Fe, then governed by Mexico.Trade soon grew in what became a seasonal movement of covered freight wagons rolling back and forth. In 1846, the “Army of the West” marched down the trail after Congress declared war with Mexico. The Americans took control of Santa Fe, and by war’s end, most of northern Mexico was ceded to the United States.

As the military presence along the trail increased, so did tensions with Native Americans, which eventually led to their forced removal from the plains. Conflicts that escalated into civil war also occurred along the trail beginning in the 1850s. In 1880, when the rails reached Santa Fe, commerce on the trail came to an end, closing a pivotal chapter in American history.

“As our nation continues to grapple with issues surrounding our relationship with Mexico as well as our relations with Native peoples, we might benefit from a better understanding of how these relationships evolved,” said producer Kendall. “Those who seek to clarify our notions of who we are as Americans will find it helpful to place this into an historical context that spotlights the forces and philosophies that guided the westward expansion of the United States.”

The program is being distributed to PBS stations throughout the U.S. by NETA (the National Educational Telecommunications Association). The Santa Fe Trail Association has presented Kendall an award of merit in recognition of what it refers to as an “outstanding documentary.” For more information, see prairiehollow.net.

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