Native American Heritage

Celebrate Native American culture

Kansas and Lawrence have a rich Native American heritage. Native Americans inhabited Kansas for thousands of years prior to its officially becoming an “open-for-settlement” territory of the U.S. Government. The Kansa, Osage, Wichita, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Comanche, Pawnee, Cheyenne and Arapaho were the most prominent indigenous nations. Many eastern tribes, such as the Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Wyandot, Sac and Fox, Iowa, Ottawa, Chippewa, Miami, Piankashaw and Wea, Peoria and Kaskaskia, Cherokee, Shawnee and Delaware had large reservations in the pre-territorial period.

Native American ceremony

While Native Americans populated the Lawrence area long before the city was established, the city is best known to the Native American population as home to Haskell Indian Nations University, the country’s premier inter-tribal university. Haskell opened in 1884 under the name the United States Industrial Training School for Native Americans. Enrollment increased from its original 22 students to more than 400 students within one semester’s time.

In 1890, the name of the school officially changed to Haskell Institute in honor of Dudley C. Haskell, the congressman who lobbied for the Lawrence school. By this time, the curriculum had expanded to include a secondary emphasis. Within 10 years, Haskell’s campus had grown to 38 buildings and an enrollment of almost 700 students, ranging from kindergarten to high school. In 1930, grades below junior high were eliminated. The institution focused on senior-high curriculum and vocational programs until 1965, when the senior-high program was discontinued. In 1970, the school received accreditation as a junior college. In 1993, Haskell became an accredited university.

Haskell Cultural Center

The vision of the Haskell Cultural Center and Museum is to respectfully serve as a steward of living tribal materials, traditions and cultural arts. Using these tools as a vehicle of transmission to truthfully convey the story of Haskell’s...

Haskell Indian Nations University Walking Tour

Learn about one of the United States Indian Industrial Training Schools established in 1884. Now known as Haskell Indian Nations University and the home to approximately 900 students from 160 tribes, Haskell has gone through many changes...

"Restoration" Wetlands and Indigenous Mural

As part of an effort between the Douglas County Commission and VanGo Inc., the initial motive for a mural was to deter graffiti. Rick Wright, the Art Director of VanGo, wanted to capture the essence of the nearby wetlands and historical...

Tiempo De La Tierra Mural

Artists Dave Loewenstein, Ardys Ramberg, and Missy McCoy got started on the mural, “Tiempo de la Tierra,” on Sept. 7, just after the Lawrence City Commission gave it final approval. Loewenstein, conservation leader Brett Ramey, a member of...

Shoppers swarm Haskell Indian Nations University to browse jewelry, pottery, carving, paintings and other artwork at the annual Haskell Indian Art Market. The event showcases original, handmade items made by Native American artists from across the...

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