To the editor:
In this supposedly religious state of Kansas, I feel that one of the Ten Commandments should apply to the travesty that KDOT Secretary Dean Carlson, Gov. Bill Graves, and the Douglas County commissioners are committing against Haskell Indian Nations University, the native community of Lawrence and the environment.
This commandment is the one entitled "Thou shall not covet." Ironically, this is exactly what Europeans have done since they reached this country. In all of the recent financial dealings that have been floated above and below the table, I'm reminded of the same attitudes that existed 135 years ago, when politicians were legislating native peoples out of Kansas for railroads, many of which cease to exist today.
People can use the excuse that those attitudes of the past were a product of "manifest destiny," but I feel that we need to start practicing "manifest denial" of sprawl and the lack of respect for other cultures and religions. If the Haskell Medicine Wheel was a Protestant place of religion, would the Haskell plaintiffs be treated the same way?
Lastly, with the history lessons concerning the successful tribal factionalism the governments of the United States and Kansas created to accomplish their land grabbing desires of the 19th century with the Iowa, Sac and Fox, and Pottawatomi, I hope today's native people will unite once and for all to prevent a price from being put on something that shouldn't be compensated for, the right to worship freely without interference from the majority, lest we forget the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, or the Indian Freedom of Religion Act of 1978.