Haskell, KU students walking to underscore environmental, Native American spiritual issues of trafficway

A group of Kansas University and Haskell Indian Nations University students had made it to Brunswick, Mo., on Wednesday evening in their effort to walk from Lawrence to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about the environmental controversy surrounding the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Thirteen students and a dog left Lawrence on Sunday as part of an event billed as the Trail of Broken Promises. Organizer Millicent Pepion, a Haskell senior, said the walk is designed to raise awareness of the environmental and Native American spiritual issues surrounding the proposed route of the South Lawrence Trafficway, which is slated to run through the Baker Wetlands near the Haskell campus.

Pepion said walkers also are raising awareness of other Native American sites across the country that are endangered. The group plans to deliver draft legislation to lawmakers aimed at providing greater protection to Native American sites.

The route for the SLT project has been challenged in federal court by environmental and Native American groups. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in January, and a decision in the case is expected at any time.

Group members plan to arrive in Washington, D.C., on July 9.