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Archive for Tuesday, September 11, 2001

SLT parallel

September 11, 2001

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To the editor:

When I read about the meetings that took place at the fairgrounds concerning the SLT, I couldn't help but think historical parallel again. Here is Baker University President Dan Lambert, saying that he doesn't advocate any particular route for the SLT, yet mitigation is a possibility. In 1967, Baker acquires the wetlands for next to nothing. And now it wants to allow both nature and Native American history to be put on display in a cultural center. Maybe like Maple Leaf. Or maybe like the Baptist missionaries who convinced the Roche De Boeuf and Blanchard's Fork Ottawa Tribes that "donating" their lands for a Baptist University that their children could attend in the 1860s was a good idea.

That was until the tribes were forced off of the lands surrounding the university area and the Ottawa tribes were removed to Indian Territory, where it took 104 years for monetary justice to be arrived at through the Indian Claims Commission. And the school named after the Ottawas enrolls few, if any of their children, with the Half-Ojibwe facilitator of the land fraud, Tauy Jones, having a building named after him.

All of this "wetlands" center stuff is descended directly from the "Conquer and Divide" policies, that 19th century Europeans honed to a science in the taking of Native American lands.

What puzzles me is that the environmentalists at Baker University aren't telling Mr. Lambert more forcefully not to allow building near the wetlands. I remember being at my grandparents in Baldwin when we heard about the tractor accident that took the elder Professor Boyd's life. To me, I wouldn't want something my father put so much time and effort into researching destroyed by bridge pilings and careless people littering into it. Litter is something KDOT cannot control. And with these wetlands being a part of institutionalized cultural genocide from 1884 to the 1930s that needs to be remembered so that it isn't repeated.

In conclusion, I once wrote a letter to Dr. Lambert, asking how he'd react if someone wanted to expand a road through the Baker Woodlands, south of Vinland. I was hoping his answer would be "No," but sometimes you can't tell...

Mike Ford,

Lawrence

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