The oldest Native American student newspaper.
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April Horoscopes

April 12, 2020 - 8:36pm


(Jan 20 – Feb 18)

Make a homemade meal and take a bath.  Doing the small and simple things will keep you grounded and content.


(Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Life is happening in waves.  Balance and perseverance are key.  Great tasks await with greater rewards to follow.


(Mar 21 – Apr 19)

It is alright to let relationships go that don’t serve you.  This your life. Choose peace and happiness.


(Apr 20 – May 20)

It seems the work is never done, but one day it will be.  Do not give up or let up. So many are cheering for you from the sidelines.


(May 21 – June 20)

Adventure awaits!  Go big or go home. Make your dreams come true and test yourself.  You can do it!


(June 21 – July 22)

A relationship is blossoming.  Use this experience to grow and learn more about yourself.  You deserve it.


(July 23 – Aug 22)

Your intensity could be intimidating to some, don’t let this stop you.  Blaze trails and lead the way, no matter what anyone says.


(Aug 23 – Sept 22)

We all know you don’t believe in horoscopes, but the universe smiles upon you.  Open your heart and be less critical of others. You are some of our greatest leaders if you don’t get in your own way.


(Sept 23 – Oct 22)

Life may seem difficult right now, and it is.  Growth hurts, but it is necessary to become stronger.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.


(Oct 23 – Nov 21)

Enjoy the comfort of your life.  The tests and trials to the next level are on their way.  Have no fear and look forward to new challenges and opportunities to grow.


(Nov 22 – Dec 21)

Someone close to you needs help.  Give it, but do not enable someone to not change.  Know the difference between true love and co-dependence.


(Dec 22 – Jan 19)

When people are rude and negative, remember that that is only a reflection of them and nothing to do with you. Don’t let someone hurt you because they are insecure and unhappy.  Protect yourself. The ones who are worthy of your love are near

The post April Horoscopes appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Follow @hinuarts

April 12, 2020 - 7:03pm

The love for art is reaching new heights. Haskell Indian Nations University has a variety of art courses that are offered throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. Students are able and encouraged to participate based off the general education requirements in the Humanities and Arts section of a two-year degree checklist. Various courses go beyond this requirement — ceramics, drawing, and painting.

The finished products from all these art courses are displayed on HINU’s campus, but a new platform has the potential to showcase these art pieces. HINU’s Mr. David Tittterington is the art instructor for these classes and decided these students’ talents needed to be shared with more people.

An Instagram page was recently created called hinuarts, clearly indicating “all things art” for HINU and already has an astonishing 635 followers. This page displays student art pieces themselves, guest indigenous artists that visit campus and HINU alumni art as well. This allows the opportunity to be interactive with current HINU art projects, speakers and students as well as indigenous art throughout the country. 

Having the scope focused in on the art can let Instagram views get an inside look of what indigenous art can fully encompass. Some interesting posts illuminate the artists in action working on their pieces. Allowing social media to embark on this realm of HINU’s indigenous art can really demonstrate a better understanding for what indigenous art truly signifies and represents. Art Instructor Titterington says, “Our students are so amazing, and their visions and voices are inspirational and benefit everyone.”

The most recent posts on the Instagram page have been the current Spring 2020 semester students’ unfinished art pieces. Because the university decided to transition into online classes, students were not able to fully complete their artwork. There will be additional upcoming posts that will display students’ artwork as they are sent in to Titterington. Even though the separation keeps students away from the studio, productivity of the art is being accomplished.  The art and ceramics room are at a stand-still, but once the new Fall 2020 semester comes around, they will be filled with our hard-working students and their professor once again

Featured Image of empty artwork with half finished painting. Photo by Jared Nally.

The post Follow @hinuarts appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Socks and Sandals

April 12, 2020 - 4:58pm

A familiar place we have never been

Classmates that become family and friends

Squirrels that hop to and fro

To classes and Curtis, we go

Laughter in the night echoes across the grounds

In the witching hour there are only ghost sounds

Long braided hair and basketball

We are trained and educated to stand tall

Children of the Creator and great Mother

If only we don’t mess up at Brothers

Hand games and singing everyday

I am sad I have to go away

Make the grades and prove your worth

Getting ready to inherit the Earth

It can be easy to feel like lesser

We seek guidance from our ancestors

Find peace in the wetlands

Dance with a cute Lakota girl in the bandstand

Night conversations and the unknown

Some of us do not have a home

The magic of Haskell brings us together

Making good memories that will last forever

This is just beginning

Prepare to take life by the handles

I will leave Haskell grinning

As I remember all the socks and sandals

The post Socks and Sandals appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Recognizing Records

April 12, 2020 - 4:55pm

Not only were sports seasons cut short, but banquets recognizing Haskell Indian Nation University’s athletes were also canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Haskell Athletics has been using it’s social media platforms to show support for their athletes as well as shining a light on some of their achievements.

Janee Bates, senior, was recognized for two Coffin Sports Complex records, most points in a single game (39) and most assists in a single game (13). Her teammate Justine Butterfield joins her on the record board with most blocks in a single game (9). Haskell Athletics gave a shout out to Butterfield as “currently the only freshman to hold a statistic on [their] record board.”

Men’s basketball also had record holders among their athletes. Senior Nakia Hendricks holds three records, most rebounds in a single game (23), most blocks in a season (41), and most blocks in a career (112). Bryon Elledge also a senior holds records in most assists in a season (119), highest assist average in a season (4.1), most assists in a career (365), and highest assist average in a career (3.4). Tristan Keah Tigh, senior, holds the complex’s record for highest scoring average in a career (13.3).

HINU volleyball saw record holders this year. Sophia Honahni, junior, now holds the record for highest digs per season (707) and highest digs per career (1681). Haskell Athletics notes that Honahni achieved this record over previous 4 year athletes and is still eligible for another season. Teammate Cailey Lujan, a senior, holds the record for highest aces per career (117).

HINU remains proud of it’s athletes despite being unable to compete this season. We look forward to new seasons and new records. Onward Haskell!

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Cancelation of Spring Sports

April 12, 2020 - 4:54pm

March 16 — Due to precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19, spring semester athletics were canceled by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). For Haskell Indian Nations University, this meant that it’s student athletes would not finish their softball, outdoor track, or golf seasons. While the NAIA restricts students eligibility to play a specific sport only 4 seasons, exceptions are being made for spring athletes. Other eligibility requirements will still be in effect. We look forward to seeing our athletes compete in future seasons.

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Decolonizing Our Reaction to COVID-19

March 21, 2020 - 1:01pm

This is a letter to my Haskell People and my people across Indian Country . Those who have called 155 Indian Avenue home, who know the tight knit community Haskell Indian Nations University is made of, we truly are a family. Some refer to Haskell as “The Rez” with affection, for others it is a safe haven.


HINU Official Statements

March 14, 2020 - 12:23pm

Below are copies of the official statements released by Haskell Indian Nations University. As more statements are issued, this page will be updated.

Information Hotline:

785-830-2770 Monday – Friday 8 am – 6 pm

Released March 14, 2:46 pmDownload Released March 14, 11:00 am Download Released March 13, 10:38 pmDownload Released March 12, 11:14 amDownload

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Students Staying on Campus

March 14, 2020 - 12:09pm

Click Here to view HINU’s official statements.

Click Here for information for students going home.

Please know that all correspondence from Haskell Indian Nations University, including their most recent statement is encouraging students with options of moving off campus to make arrangements to do so for the remainder of the semester.

HINU is acknowledging that not all students will have alternatives or feel safe leaving campus and are welcome to continue living on campus. Those choosing to stay should know the following.

Students staying are being encouraged to return to campus before Tuesday, March 17, the during the travel safety window outlined by statements from HINU. Once students arrive on campus they should check in at Stidham Union.

Students who are staying will need to be prepared for the possibility of being quarantined on campus and not being allowed to leave. For the time being, the campus will be undergoing isolation where the campus has elected to self isolate, off campus visitors will not be allowed dorm visitation, and students are strongly encouraged not to leave campus.

Current talks are that students on campus will be moved into two dorm halls. Questions about having roommates and other housing questions have not been addressed and will be updated as the Indian Leader receives information.

During the student address on March 13, questions regarding student services were answered. Students will continue to have meals provided to them and access to library.  Faculty will continue working, some telecommuting for their job. It is advised to minimize in person meetings and to reach out to faculty through email.

Students staying on campus should also attempt to eliminate ordering products from foreign countries, especially from countries with a high risk of viral transmission like China, out of consideration for the safety of the campus mailroom staff who handle each package. Students should also be aware that in the event of staff shutdowns, mail will not be picked up or forwarded until staff is allowed to return.

All students should consider where they will be receiving mail and making decisions accordingly. It is advised to seek out online options for documents like bank statements and taxes during this time.

The post Students Staying on Campus appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Checklist for Student’s Going Home

March 13, 2020 - 9:53pm

Information posted by the Indian Leader is subject to change and will be updated once official statements are made by Haskell Indian Nations University. This information  is currently being curated from on-campus meetings.

HINU is strongly suggesting students to have decided and made arrangements to either stay on campus or return home by March 18th. This four day period has been decided as a safety window for travel based on cases of COVD-19 spreading in Kansas according to Tonya Salvini’s student address. Here is a checklist provided as a summary of these talks for students planning on leaving campus.

  • Create an exit plan
  • Work with administration to execute plan
  • Secure belongings on campus
  • Sign out of dorm
  • Forward Mail
  • Financial aid address update
  • Set yourself up for Distance Learning Success

The administration is encouraging students to evaluate their own safety and create an exit plan to go home or another safe location to complete their semester online.

The HINU administration will help provide tickets and funding to help students execute their plans. Students should be in contact with Tonia Salvini,, to let HINU know their plans and to organize any assistance.

Salvini and Danielle McKinney also addressed student storage. Students do not need to travel back to campus to have their belongings stored. Faculty will have security with them and either live stream with the student or record the packing process. Students will not be written up for any contraband found while packing, but illegal items like firearms and marijuana will be turned over to authorities. Packed items will be moved to a storage location for students to retrieve in the fall. However, HINU is not responsible for people’s personal property.

HINU is only offering to cover shipping costs for students who are graduating. Students who would like their possessions should arrange to have their belongs picked up during the  four day safety window ending March 18th. Any belongings not  able to be taken at that time may also be stored till the fall semester.

Students who are currently on campus or returning for belongings should complete their room checkout process: packing belongs to either take or store, clean, check in room keys, and finish checking out with the Resident Assistants (RA’s).

Students should email their forwarding addresses to Althea Eaton at Addresses should include your name, street address, city, state and zip code.

The mailroom will be able to forward existing mail in student mailboxes as well as future letters addressed to them to the forwarding address provided. Students should know that packages from UPS and FedEx cannot be forwarded to a P.O. Box.

Students should consider where they will receive mail and making decisions accordingly. It is advised to seek out online options for documents like bank statements and taxes during this time.

Students should also register for Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) as well as providing the bursar,; financial aid; and the student bank,, with their forwarding address to receive scholarships, work study, and other payments.

Once students have their living situation settled, they should prepare themselves for being academically successful with distance learning. (A future post will be linked here).

Featured Image of Tonia Salvini addressing students by Zachary Arquette

The post Checklist for Student’s Going Home appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Final Buzzer Recap

March 1, 2020 - 11:25pm

Feb. 28, 2020—Both Haskell Indian Nations University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams heard their final buzzer for the season in their final games during the Association of Independent Institutions conference tournaments.

The HINU women’s team came into the tournament as the fourth seed playing against fifth seed Wilberforce University. The game ended with an upset loss of 60-67. Team member Nizhoni Thomas led with 16 points for HINU. Sixth seed HINU men’s team faced up against third seed Lincoln College. Despite a 23-6 run over seven minutes by the HINU men, Lincoln College was able to secure a 74-61 victory. Bryon Elledge had the high point lead for HINU with 21 points.

Students from both the men’s and women’s teams received recognition at the A.I.I. conference banquet. For the women’s team: senior Janee Bates received awards for “First Team All Conference” as well “Champions of Character”, and freshman Odessa Begay received “Honorable Mention All Conference”; men’s team: senior Nakia Hendricks received “First Team All Conference”, senior Bryon Elledge received “Honorable Mention All Conference”, and junior Elias Her Many Horses received “Champions of Characters”.

The season legacy by both teams includes a 12-17 win loss record by the women and a 16-13 record for the men.

Other notable moments over the season were Nakia Hendricks being recognized as an “A.I.I. Player of the Week”. HINU also recognized its own athletes of the week which have included Antwon Winn and Justine Butterfield.

Through the course of the season, senior athletes Bryon Elledge, Nakia Hendricks, and Tristan KeahTigh each scored their 1000th career point. Elledge reaching this milestone against Langston University on Nov. 20 and both Hendricks and Keah-Tigh on Feb. 12 against Crowlye’s Ridge College, Hendricks first with KeahTigh following later that game.

We want to congratulate our student athletes on their seasons, victories, and recognitions, Onward Haskell!

The post Final Buzzer Recap appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Thinking of You

March 1, 2020 - 11:23pm

News was passed along to the Haskell Indian Nations University campus that Interim President, Dr. Daniel Wildcat, experienced a medical emergency on February 16th causing worry and heavy hearts. The news came as a shock for many of the Haskell family and community. 

Dr. Wildcat has been working at Haskell for over 30 years where he has taken on many roles, but his heart and mind resides as being a faculty member working with Native American students. The dedication Dr. Wildcat gave to the university has touched many along the way during the duration of his career at Haskell. Let us celebrate and rejoice this remarkable person as he is on the road to recovery. Please keep Dr. Wildcat and his family in your thoughts and send prayers as he strives to improve his health each day. As the new journey to recovery awaits him, we keep him close to our heart; Dr. Wildcat has always been a helping hand, encouraging person, and a positive friend.

The post Thinking of You appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Students Unite to Restore Native Languages

March 1, 2020 - 11:22pm

Learning your Native language can be scary, confusing, and seem hard to do. It is a problem that many students at Haskell Indian Nations University face. There is now a club that provides a comforting and fun environment to learn and speak with others. It is community based intertribal language learning. It’s called the Indigenous Language Revitalization Club and they meet every Tuesday at 6:30 in the HINU library, near the language section. 

The group has just begun, and there have only been a few meetings, but many ideas are in the process of unfolding. At the last meeting, everyone set learning goals. If someone had questions about how to begin learning their Native language, another would try to provide a helpful answer. The group intends to help those who desire to learn their language to identify resources and opportunities to speak. It is also meant to help current speakers find one another, in order to communicate and network. 

Rissa Garcia, the student who started the club, emphasizes that self-motivation and daily use of the language is vital for achieving results.

Haskell is a diverse Indigenous university. There are numerous tribes and languages represented. Jared Nally, HINU Student, says that the group, “Aims to bridge the gap between the many languages and dialects at HINU.” Nally describes why he desires to learn his myaamiataweenki language, “Language shapes how you interact with the world.” 

Hayley Wells, HINU student, explains why she is interested in learning, “I want to learn Choctaw, partially out of a sense of responsibility. I feel honored to be Native, so I feel it should be my honor to preserve as much culture and heritage as I can.” 

The club seeks to emphasize the presence of Native languages at HINU with activities like open mic. night, storytelling, board games, and more. Indigenous Language Revitalization Club is a good interactive and comfortable environment to start learning how to speak your Native language on HINU’s campus.

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Student Success

March 1, 2020 - 11:20pm

Have free time between class, want some coffee or tea, or need to print something off for class, the Student Success Center(SSC) located by the main entrance in Sequoyah Hall has it all for you. They provide free coffee and tea, access to computers and free printing and have many free tutors that cover a wide range of subjects from tribal government, math, and environmental sciences.  

The SSC is a great place to socialize and meet new people. There is also  Retention Program Technician and Advisor, Laura Rice, on hand for students needing help with their education pathways or just wanting to talk.

Games are available at the SSC if you are just wanting to kill some time or there is a inside study room for those last minute study sessions before the big test. The SSC also gives you access to the Haskell food pantry where Haskell students may choose from a select number of donated food items and where donated school supplies are available as well. They even have calculators and charging cords that can be checked out. The Student Success Center is open to all students so don’t be shy and stop by once in a while, and remember to bring your own reusable cup for coffee and tea to reduce waste, but don’t worry if you don’t, the center has cups on hand too. 

The post Student Success appeared first on The Indian Leader.



March 1, 2020 - 11:19pm

There is no amount of words that can be expressed for the loss of our loved ones. Our Haskell’s Alum and past employee Wekota “Koty” Crow Ghost, had been called home. Our deepest condolences for the immediate family and friends. Crow Ghost is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, an alumnus of Haskell Institute graduating in May of 1966 with her Commercial-clerical certificate to later attend Sitting Bull College to graduate in 1976 with her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Not long after, Crow Ghost came to Haskell Junior College to work as a Residential Aide from 1990 to 2006. Currently, we ask to keep the family, close loved ones and friends in our thoughts and send prayers in that good way. Her spirit will not be forgotten.

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Haskell Student Spotlight

March 1, 2020 - 11:17pm

Lawrence local Zackary Towey, is a member of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and Athabaskan from the south central Alaska. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Haskell Indian Nations University and plans of graduating this May.

Towey has participated in the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) program and has presented his research on the Menominee Forest tree populations under the program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He is currently part of the Haskell-KU Exchange program taking classes at HINU and KU as well as working at the Student Success Center on Haskell campus as a mathematics and environmental science tutor. 

Towey plans to pursue graduate school after Haskell and hopes to bring it home with a PhD. He hopes to come back in the future and be able to pass along his knowledge as a professor.

The post Haskell Student Spotlight appeared first on The Indian Leader.


Away From Home

March 1, 2020 - 11:16pm

Feb. 11, 2020—Twenty-four museum representatives visited Haskell Indian Nations University’s Campus as a part of their training session. There were Museum Directors, Educators and Curators that met with five current Haskell students and one student from the University of Kansas. These reps took a tour of the campus and visited the Cultural Center and Navarre hall. They were here to learn more about the boarding school era and what the six students’ knowledge about this important part of their history was. Dr. Anderson helped by showing these representatives around the campus and giving them a brief history powerpoint about Haskell’s History.

The students were asked a wide range of questions about how to reach out to different tribal communities for help with the exhibit. Haskell was a part of the boarding school era and very much made an impact on the future generation. Now it is a Federal Institution which now gives Native students a start to further their college careers.

Dr. Anderson stated that the students did an exceptional job on answering the questions in such detail. Will this exhibit show how bad that era was? Yes, it will also tell the true stories of our ancestors and show how it has made Native people stronger than ever.

The exhibit was made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities on the road which was adapted from a permanent exhibition, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories, organized by The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. This exhibit has existed since 2000, but was first called Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience. The exhibit was maybe possible by a group of Native scholars and individuals who either attended boarding schools or got information from their family members who were in the boarding school system. The Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) which is located in Kansas City, Missouri helps develop traveling exhibits. The M-AAA has helped the Heard Museum, in Phoenix, Arizona, develop it into a smaller traveling exhibit which also includes even more stories from all regions of the United States.

Six of the hosting venues are museums that are on college campuses’. Which will help to spread the stories to fellow college students. But each museum has a different way of reaching out to different Native tribes and students to get as much information and understanding as possible. Stephanie Seber, an Educator from Mid-America Arts Alliance stated, “Perhaps the briefest description of the goal of the Away from Home traveling exhibition is to share the very complicated history of off-reservation Indian boarding schools with broad audiences all across the country, by focusing on first-person accounts by survivors and alumni of the boarding schools.”

Click here for more information and exhibit locations and dates

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The Pervasive Tragedy

March 1, 2020 - 11:12pm

Montana, January 20 – Around 10:30 a.m., less than a mile from an interstate rest area, the body of 16 year-old Selena Faye Not Afraid was found. According to USA Today, she had been missing since New Year’s Day. The Billings Gazette previously reported that the preliminary autopsy revealed that Not Afraid had died from hypothermia. The state medical examiner also reported that she had no signs of violence or a physical struggle. Not Afraid’s body was also found in an area that had been searched days before then by Big Horn County police and even FBI. 

Not Afraid was looked at as a positive, young girl who loved her family, sports, and animals. It is a tragedy she had to leave so soon. Students at Haskell Indian Nations University express how they feel about the recent tragedy in Montana and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement. 

Josh Garcia, who holds the title of Haskell Brave, suspects some foul play “It is especially sad right now because they found her around the area where she was last seen. Whether the investigators had just missed the spot, or if someone had planted her there afterward, it is still heartbreaking for the family.”  Garcia also voiced his concerns for MMIW, “The issue, in general, is a common problem, not only in today’s world but in the past, as well. Because we are natives and minorities, nobody wants to listen to us. And it has been happening for years, but I’m glad it gets coverage now because we haven’t always had a voice.” 

Justin Rhoades, cross-country runner, voiced his thoughts, “It is very sad. I feel like it is a continuing form of genocide and it is taking away our culture. I send my thoughts and prayers to her [Not Afraid] family, friends, and every single person who knew her.”

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Haskell FY2021 Funding

March 1, 2020 - 11:09pm

Early each year, usually in March or April, the president proposes a budget to Congress that details funding levels for the next fiscal year.

On February 10, President Donald J. Trump sent his new $4.8 billion budget to Congress, which outlines several significant cuts to education spending. (Read more here.) The budgets of Haskell Indian Nations University, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), and the nation’s many tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) potentially face a significant reduction in funding unless changes are made by Congress.

In its 2021 budget justification, the Bureau of Indian Education noted that both Haskell and SIPI made numerous achievements in student retention and success, yet they may face a combined $4 million in cuts while other TCUs face an overall $4.5 million reduction.

In response to this news, the Indian Leader reached out to Representative Sharice Davids’ office for comment.

“While President Trump attempts to once again slash funding for tribal education programs, I stand with tribal students and leaders in rejecting this harmful budget proposal. I’m proud to have studied at Haskell, and I recognize the critical role that tribal colleges, universities and technical schools play in improving education access and outcomes for native students. I will continue to fight against these budget cuts and ensure we properly fund and support TCUs like Haskell.”

Although there’s little doubt that the president’s 2021 budget will face major revisions over the next year it remains to be seen whether or not the political will to properly fund TCUs exists in Congress.

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Coming Together

March 1, 2020 - 11:08pm

As the new semester settles in, a tradition of celebrating the students, faculty, staff, alumni and native peoples throughout Indian country come together for the 2020 Haskell Welcome Back Pow-Wow. 

On February 8th , Haskell Indian Nations University’s campus greeted people near and far for the celebration. Artistic vendors, food vendors and informational booths were set up alongside the arena for the evening. Our Master of Ceremonies, Manny King, was the spokesperson for the evening for

gourd dancing and the many styles of dancing and singing taking place at the celebration. The host drum, Meskwaki Nation, was the center of the Introduction to the Grand Entry lead-in by Head Man, Troy Watterson, and Head Lady Jandra Levi, both

currently attending Haskell. They were followed by the Haskell Veteran’s Association representing the color guard.

This evening of togetherness and good medicine gathered approximately 750 people according to Manny King. If this was an evening you missed out on, come join us at Haskell for the Spring 2020 Haskell Commencement Pow-Wow on May 8th and 9th. We hope to see you there!

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Uprooted: Decaying Trees Plan to be Repurposed

February 12, 2020 - 11:36pm

As you were on your way to class in the first week of February, you may have noticed numerous aerial lift trucks and tree chippers hard at work. The commotion was hard to miss. The Kansas Tree Care (KTC) company was commissioned to remove and trim various trees on Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) campus.  It begs the question as to the reasoning behind such a decision; at first glance, it may not seem like they even needed to be removed. For various reasons, there were 7 trees in total that were taken down. The professional arborists at KTC have provided substantial insight into the root of the problem.

Kenny Flanders, a Haskell alumnus, was one of the workers from KTC. He was able to clarify why trimming and cutting down certain campus trees was necessary. The biggest issue was the impact of the emerald ash borer on white ash trees. Originating in Asia, this beetle found its way to Michigan in 2002 through shipments and eventually made its way to 33 states and several territories in Canada — killing millions of white ash on the way. Unfortunately, there are no viable means to bring back a tree already infected with this beetle. Flanders spoke about the condition of the trees behind Pocahontas Hall saying, “…the top branches were visibly decaying”. From a visible inspection of the pile of wood, there is evidence of extensive rotting. The emerald ash borer has no natural predators on Turtle Island. It became obvious that these white ash trees were going to meet their demise sooner or later. 

Besides being cut down, many trees were also trimmed. Flanders also spoke about the importance of tree trimming in late winter. “This is usually to slow or stop the spreading of any diseases the trees may have been infected with and even to help the tree maximize their resources”. Essentially, the water and nutrients that would have gone to the decaying branches can now be used much more efficiently throughout the whole tree. KTC plans to come back in a month to trim more. 

The other trees that were taken down were considered hazards to either pedestrians or buildings. For instance, the tree in front of Sequoyah Hall was severely damaged from a fungus. Professor Tyler Kimbrell, who was a crucial decision-maker for this project, called the tree a “hotel for squirrels”, speaking about the extent of the damage. Since this is an area where students and faculty frequently walk, there was no question on the fate of this tree. A few healthy trees by Coffin Complex were also taken down but for a different reasons; their proximity imposed a risk to the integrity of the building because of how close they were allowed to grow to it. 

Now that these trees are taken down, they are considered resources for the HINU campus to utilize. In fact, Kimbrell expressed how this was part of the plan: for the wood to be repurposed to enrich the culture here on campus. 

One of the obvious ways to use the wood is for fires. The fire pit in front of the Auditorium can directly benefit. Some other ways the campus can use the firewood is for sweat lodges and even Native American Church services. It was made clear that with collaborative planning and predetermined intention, the wood can have boundless uses. 

For instance, some of the thicker logs are being dried out so they can be turned into drums. Drums Kimbrell hopes can be in use at HINU for years to come. He also anticipates other projects that could require some logs to be turned into lumber. One proposed project is raised garden beds for medicinal and vegetable plants, a project currently in the planning phase.

All that remains is the question on the replacement of the fallen trees or if they should be replaced at all. Kimbrell expressed the desire for there to be a geographic representation of the many tribal students that attend HINU. This would entail reaching out to tribal communities to potentially have trees from various geographic areas. Yet, there are also many native Kansas trees that can be propagated. These trees would have the best chance of thriving in the clayey soil type of eastern Kansas. After all, much of the reason trees start to decay is because the trees were stressed in some way. Whatever the decision, it is of utter importance we be mindful of the implications. 

Overall, it is sad to see our elders leaving, yet their legacy will not just be embers in the wind. It is our responsibility to make sure that is not the case. The re-purposing of the ones who have looked down upon us will, without a doubt, enrich our HINU experience. The framework for the re-purposing of decaying trees can be implemented in the future when others eventually meet their demise. Yet it is even more important to care for the ones that are still standing because many times the damage can be mitigated or even avoided altogether. The next time you come across a campus tree (or any, for that matter), remember to embody graciousness in their predetermined presence. 

I solemnly acknowledge Tyler Kimbrell’s leadership and planning in ensuring these trees were taken care of in a respectful way.

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