To the editor:
I'm writing this letter in regard to comments County Commissioner Jere McElhaney made in the April 12 Journal-World. He fails to realize how federal guidelines have to be followed from the First Nations, environmental and historical perspective with regard to the Baker Wetlands. The state of Kansas, Douglas County, and the city of Lawrence all answer to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.
Commissioner McElhaney is wrong in stating that the Haskell student body is a "special interest group." Current and previous Haskell students are members of federally recognized, sovereign nations, tribes and bands. The special interest tag fits those people who seek to plan and develop an area more for profit than for environmental and fiscal responsibility. Who does Commissioner McElhaney fit with? Competing with a growth curve isn't responsible.
This brings me to a historical point concerning development in this area. Next year will be Lawrence's 150th anniversary. Next year will also be the 150th anniversary of the Manypenny treaties that began after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The Shawnee, Delaware, Sac and Fox and Iowa of the Missouri, Kickapoo, Miami, Piankishaw, Peoria, Wea, and Kaskaskia tribes lost over 10 million acres through these treaties in 1854-55. Cities like Lawrence, Leavenworth, Topeka, and Atchison were then founded.
Profit-minded speculators and developers from families like the Ewings, Stevens, and Pomeroys helped negotiate tribes off their lands. This lawless attitude led to the terrorizing of Miamis, Delawares, and Shawnees off of their Kansas lands by 1873. Not much has changed, has it?