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Archive for Friday, March 8, 1991

HASKELL OFFICIALS OFFER TO HELP CITY

March 8, 1991

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A Haskell Indian Junior College representative has offered the school's services to city officials who are organizing a training program designed to foster racial and cultural understanding among city officials and employees.

Dan Wildcat, chairman of Haskell's natural and social sciences department and president of the board of the Lawrence Indian Center, said he told City Manager Mike Wildgen that Haskell officials are keenly interested in helping the city organize the program.

"We want to be involved," Wildcat said. "We have a lot of resources, including experts in many areas such as speech and communication, and history and contemporary issues who could help enlighten people."

Wildgen said he was grateful for Wildcat's offer and plans to work with Haskell officials to establish a program.

Haskell President Bob Martin said today that he would be glad to lend support to the city.

"We certainly have the expertise and the resources to help in a number of ways," he said. "We'd be glad to help if the city called on us."

ONE WAY Haskell could help, Martin said, would be to educate people about Native American culture. More than 130 tribes are represented at Haskell, and each tribe has its own traditions and culture. Martin said enhancing awareness about Native American culture would be a positive step.

City commissioners Tuesday directed Wildgen to establish the training program for commissioners and all city employees in response to remarks written by the former Lawrence Police Department spokesman about a newspaper story involving the deaths of several Native American men.

Chris Mulvenon, the former spokesman, was reassigned from his media duties because of his remarks, which were criticized by city officials and minority representatives as insensitive and racist.

Mulvenon and Police Chief Ron Olin have since apologized for the article.

Mulvenon, who was hired in April 1988 as Olin's administrative assistant, will continue to hold that title. His salary will remain at its current level, $25,012. Wildgen said Thursday he does not plan to take any disciplinary action against Mulvenon.

WILDGEN said Mulvenon, who is not a commissioned officer, will do in-house, non-public work such as analyzing crime patterns and writing administrative reports. He said Mulvenon previously performed those duties along with handling the media.

Sgt. Kevin Harmon has been assigned to cover media duties and will continue to handle other administrative duties he has had. Harmon will handle daily media briefings and answer other media inquiries.

In Mulvenon's story, published in the most recent issue of the Kansas Fraternal Order of Police magazine, the former spokesman lampoons a Wall Street Journal story that raised the question of whether a serial killer was responsible for the deaths of the Indians. Mulvenon states that the only "serial" involved in the cases was "cereal malt beverage."

At a news conference Tuesday at Haskell, city officials and minority representatives denounced the story. One of the speakers, Steve Cadue, leader of the Kickapoo nation, told the audience he had written to Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and requested a special investigation of the deaths.

AN AIDE in Sen. Nancy Kassebaum's office today said the senator had received Cadue's letter. The aide said Kassebaum felt it was unfortunate that the comments were published in the magazine.

According to the aide, Kassebaum last fall asked the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide assistance to local and state law officials in the investigations.

Kassebaum's aide said the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, of which Kassebaum is a member, is not a law enforcement agency, and he said that he wasn't sure what the committee could do that the FBI, KBI, sheriff's office or local police department couldn't do.

Kassebaum sent a reply Thursday to Cadue.

Among the deaths discussed in the Wall Street Journal were those of Christopher Bread, 19, whose body was found March 2, 1990, along a road east of Lawrence; Cecil Dawes Jr., 21, whose body was found in October 1989 in the Kansas River; and John Sandoval, 19, whose body was found in April 1989 in the river.

A team of investigators from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Douglas County Sheriff's Department and the Lawrence Police Department continues to investigate those deaths.

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