INTRODUCING THE FIRST WEEPING WATERS AWARD

Native Americans living in Southwest Missouri before white settlers claimed the land in the early 1800s called the Springfield-Greene County area “The Place of Weeping Waters.” Tribes included Kickapoo, Osage, Delaware and others gradually forced westward.
           The karst topography of the area is well-known today to those who live here for its “spring” effect, and every landowner faces potential problems that can range from sinkholes appearing in yards and fields to sporadic flash flooding that produces damage and health threats. Many newcomers discover these truths, which are usually not self-evident except during and after storm events or other geophysical anomalies, too late to change their minds about committing their lives and assets to properties that can become sinkholes and stinkholes.
           This Weeping Waters Award was born of necessity and experience: necessity to focus attention on such problems, and positive action taken to ameliorate them; experience of being flooded with sewage that inspired a writer-victim to tell the truth. Thus, the Weeping Waters Award was born in Springfield, Greene County, Missouri, to commemorate the Native Americans who were long ago driven out by the settlers whose descendants now live with the consequences of trying to put down roots in land the consistency of white man's cottage cheese.
           Although the federally enforced relocation of thousands of Eastern Cherokees (historically known as “The Trail of Tears”) slogged through Springfield in March 1839, the weeping waters to which Native Americans alluded were not associated with historic American genocide attributed to president Andrew Jackson; they described the earth's natural grounds that seemed to weep of water seeping up from beneath “her”--the “mother's”--topsoil “bosom.”
           The award memorializes “The Place of Weeping Waters,” former headquarters of Amy Kitchener's Angels Without Wings Foundation, Inc., a non-profit literary organization founded in 2001 by writer Wanda Sue Parrott. Her mold-damaged home-office at 203 E. Washita St., Springfield, and her health, were impacted by stormwater/sewage flooding beween November 1988 and December 2008. She is co-founder of the National Annual Senior Poets Laureate Poetry Competition for American Poets age 50 and older, acclaimed literary competition now in its 17th year.
           Sponsor of The First Weeping Waters Award, presented to the City of Springfield, Missouri for Conservation on February 2, 2009 is the foundation's webmaster A. L. Baker

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