Letter to the Editor 1

To the editor:

After reading Mr. Boyd's comments in the Dec. 1 paper, I was disappointed but not surprised.

Mr. Boyd talks in a brief and uninformed tone concerning the religious connection that many indigenous peoples have to the Haskell wetlands. It was the United Methodist Church that operated Haskell Indian Nations University in its early years as a government

boarding school, whose government-appointed mission was to indoctrinate through coercion and force the tribal identity out of the Indian students who were taken by threat or physical force from their parents to many schools like Haskell across this country. At the Genoa Indian School in Genoa, Neb., students were buried all over the campus, according to the sign erected by the Nebraska State Historical Society. Mr. Boyd makes no distinction to the claims of the Kaw People, whose land the wetlands were prior to an 1825 treaty. He simply lumps all of us together in a very disrespectful way to attempt to further his agenda.

The most disturbing feature of Mr. Boyd's letter is his tone concerning the legality of the land transfer involving the wetlands. On its face, the Federal Indian School Surplus Lands Act of 1962, or U.S.C. 25, Chapter 7, Section 293 a, was violated.

Only 50 acres were supposed to be transferred at any one time to a public school agency. Baker University isn't a public school, and 572.68 acres were taken in violation of the clear edict of land transfer in the law cited above. Also, what land transaction takes 30 years to complete unless there's something fishy going on? An alternate land transfer path was taken through the HEW agency Mr. Boyd keeps referring to in order to avoid the clear violations cited above. This incident reeks of complicit behavior that shouldn't be ignored; yet, ignoring all of these observations is what Mr. Boyd is asking the Baker University student body to do.

In conclusion, a university of Baker's stature shouldn't be taking such a "What's-in-it-for-us" attitude about lands that were acquired under questionable circumstances.

Anyone with a conscience shouldn't want a road going through a burial area or having a place that was the American equivalent of Auschwitz on display as a nature trail.

Baker needs to be a place of integrity, not a place of financial opportunism. Mr. Boyd's plan reeks of opportunism at the expense of the native peoples neither he nor Baker University have addressed in a respectful manner, in print or otherwise.

Sincerely,

Mike Ford

209 Allcutt Ave.

Bonner Springs, Kan. 66012

785-843-2796

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