Ground search of Native American site in Kansas delayed

Oct 31, 2022, 1:32 AM | Updated: 4:33 pm
FILE - This undated photo shows the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kan. The Kansas Historical S...

FILE - This undated photo shows the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kan. The Kansas Historical Society plans to search the grounds of the former Native American boarding school to determine if any children were buried there, according to The Kansas City Star, Monday, Oct, 17, 2022. (The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

(The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

A plan to search for unmarked graves at a former Native American boarding school in Kansas is on hold amid a disagreement between a Shawnee Tribe and state and city officials overseeing the site.

The Kansas Historical Society announced last year that the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas would conduct a ground-penetrating radar survey at the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway.

However, Fairway officials last week said the proposal was on hold indefinitely after Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes raised concerns that the tribe was not consulted about the proposal and future plans for the 12-acre (4.86-hectare) site.

The Shawnee Tribe pushed last year for a study of the site, formerly known as the Shawnee Indian Manual Labor School. It was one of hundreds of schools run by the government and religious groups in the 1800s and 1900s that removed Indigenous children from their families to assimilate them into white culture and Christianity.

Fairway City Administrator Nathan Nogelmeier said in a statement that the Kansas Historical Society, which owns the site, met with Barnes in August and offered him the opportunity to consult before the work began.

On Monday, Barnes said that as he was leaving a meeting at the historical society he was given a short paper saying the organization had begun the process of working with the university on the ground-penetrating work.

“That’s not consultation,” Barnes said. “Consultation is a well-defined term. It’s not as I’m leaving stuff a piece of paper into my hands.”

Several experts told the tribe the proposal was insufficient and didn’t follow federal law concerning consulting with tribes in such situations, Barnes said.

In his statement, Nogelmeier said the historical society and the city of Fairway expect the Shawnee Tribe to try to persuade the Kansas Legislature next year to convey the land from the state to the Shawnee Nation.

“The KHS is on record opposing such a conveyance due to its historical significance to Kansas not just while it operated as the manual labor training school but due to other events and time periods as they related to Kansas’s history,” Nogelmeier said. “Further, Chief Barnes has not made any commitments about what he and the Shawnee Nation view as the future use of the land if they become owners of the site.”

While acknowledging that the tribe is not opposed to conveyance, Barnes suggested the state and Fairway officials are trying to use the issue as a political ploy and the timing of last week’s statement raises questions about whether the tribe is welcome in the process.

“I find that insinuation troubling,” Barnes said. “We have always been clear about our vision for the site. Regardless of who owns it, it centers on protection and restoration. To say otherwise is patently false, and they know it’s patently false.”

The move to inspect the mission’s grounds came after the U.S. Department of Interior announced a nationwide initiative last year to investigate federally operated Indian boarding schools. That would not have included the Shawnee Indian Manual Labor School, which was founded in 1939 and run by Methodist minister Thomas Johnson.

At one point, it had 16 buildings on about 2,000 acres (800 hectares) and nearly 200 students a year who ranged in age from 5 to 23. The current 12-acre (4.86-hectare) site currently holds three buildings, which are on national and state historic registries.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends the second day of the meeting of NATO Minis...
Associated Press

Ukraine welcomes arms offers, no word on Patriot missiles

BUCHAREST (AP) — Ukraine’s foreign minister said Wednesday that NATO diplomats have given him a “number of new commitments” on arming his nation, but declined to say whether that included promises of badly wanted Patriot missile batteries. Dmytro Kuleba spoke at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Bucharest, Romania. Equipping Ukraine with arms and equipment […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

EU Commission proposes blocking billions in funds to Hungary

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s executive branch recommended Wednesday that billions of euros in EU funds be withheld from Hungary over its failure to implement solid rule-of-law reforms, a move highlighting lingering divergences between the European partners. The Council, which represents the bloc’s 27 countries, has until Dec. 19 to take a decision based […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Changes let high school athletes bank big endorsement bucks

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jada Williams was a social media star and a talented point guard when she moved with her mother from a Kansas City suburb to San Diego, looking to play basketball for a high school powerhouse and parlay her online prowess into endorsement deals. She found it all in California, which has […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Taliban: At least 10 killed by bombing of religious school

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — A Taliban official says that at least 10 students were killed Wednesday when a bomb blast hit a religious school in northern Afghanistan. Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul Nafi Takor says several others were wounded in the blast at the madrassa in Aybak, capital of the northern Samangan province. There was no […]
1 day ago
FILE - Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 17...
Associated Press

Next generation: Hakeem Jeffries set to lead House Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emboldened House Democrats are poised to usher in a new generation of leaders with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries becoming the first Black American to head a major political party in Congress as long-serving Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside. Showing rare party unity after their midterm election losses, the House Democrats […]
1 day ago
FILE - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during a meeting of the German federal parli...
Associated Press

German parliament set to label 1930s Ukraine famine genocide

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s parliament is expected to approve a resolution Wednesday labeling as genocide Ukraine’s 1930s “Holodomor” — a famine believed to have killed more than 3 million Ukrainians under the repressive rule of Soviet leader Josef Stalin. The resolution is being brought to the lower house, or Bundestag, by the three parties in […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Ground search of Native American site in Kansas delayed