Haskell Indian Nations University Cemetery - Lawrence, Kansas
Haskell Indian Nations University cemetery is a moving reminder of the days when Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas was an American Indian boarding school where the United States government forced Native American children to live, removed from the influences of their families and community.
103 students are buried in Haskell Cemetery. The headstones have the name of the child, their tribal affiliation and the years of birth and death. Some causes of their deaths were accidents, consumption (tuberculosis), heart problems, kidney problems, pneumonia and typhoid-malaria. The boarding school opened with 22 American Indian students on September 1, 1884 and the burials were made from 1885 until 1943, though most of the burials were in the first 30 years.
Small offerings are left at the graves, including coins, toys, shells and other items. Every grave has at least one offering.
In 2017, an 8' wrought iron fence was erected around the half acre cemetery, following vandalism in which gravestones were ripped out from their burial plots and tossed in a corner of the cemetery. The fence is kept locked in the evenings and on weekends, but remains open to the public during business hours Monday through Friday.
In the early years, boys were taught trades such as blacksmithing, farming, harness making, tailoring, and wagon making. Girls were taught cooking, homemaking and sewing. In time, Haskell functioned more as a high school and then a technical college. In 1970, Haskell became Haskell Indian Junior College and in 1993, Haskell became Haskell Indian Nations University.
Today, Haskell has over 1000 students from federally recognized tribes from across the United States.
LAS 4/18 copyright 2006-2018 by Keith Stokes