We take you to the Neosho River Knap-in in Chetopa
CHETOPA, Kan. – The City Park in Chetopa, Kansas was the site for the second Neosho River Knap-In. We’ll tell you what knapping is and introduce you to a man who’s made it a life-long hobby.
Along the Neosho River in Chetopa is the City Park and on Friday and Saturday it played host to the Neosho River Knap-In. Knapping, is shaping a piece of stone by hitting it and making stone tools or weapons, or even for building walls. Here, it was all about making arrowheads for a number of uses. The organizer, Aaron Ellison, says he got started in knapping right here in Chetopa. “When I got introduced to knapping, the first place I made my first arrowhead was right here and then they told me about what’s called a ‘knap-in’ where people around the area get together, camp together, break rock together, trade stories, arrowheads, all sorts of stuff, and I thought, you know what, I want to go to a knap-in, but they’re all so far away, okay, I’m going to make one here.”
Vyrl Keeter is from Muskogee and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. His interest in knapping began many years ago. “I began to see arrow points and artifacts and wondered how they were made.”
As he researched, he learned more about his tribe’s history, and some of it’s lost history. “The Cherokees did not come to Oklahoma with the astute knowledge of making the artifacts that previously had been made, they had pretty much lost the art.”
He took his interest and made it into a life long project. “I try to perpetuate this art and the customs and the ideals of the Cherokee people and relate that back to previous times.”
On Saturday, he shaped an arrowhead just for us, giving a full demonstration from start to finish on how arrowheads were made back in the old days. Keeter travels the nation sharing this knowledge and of course, shares it with the Cherokee down in his own backyard.
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