Mary Pember: Haskell marks 125th anniversary
"Haskell Indian Nations University turns 125 this year. The university is recognizing its historical anniversary with a yearlong series of events officials are referring to as a commemoration rather than a celebration. Leaders says they will not dodge the painful elements of the school’s history.

“These things happened. They can’t be ignored,” Barbara Hallum, director of Haskell’s extension, says, referring to the early days when Haskell functioned as a boarding school.

Haskell opened its doors in 1884 as the United States Industrial Training School to 22 elementary school students. Children as young as 4 years old were separated from their families for months at a time as they attended the school, which focused its training on domestic arts. In keeping with the thinking of the day, Indian culture and language were seen as the culprits that kept American Indians from becoming American citizens. Children were routinely punished for speaking their language or disobeying the military-style rules of the school. Punishment included incarceration in a jail on campus. The lock from the jail cell is on display today at the school’s cultural center.

Haskell is the longest continually running federal school for American Indians and in many ways is a mirror for the relationship between tribes and the U. S. government. "

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Haskell Indian Nations University Commemorates 125th Anniversary, Recognizes Painful History (Diverse Issues in Higher Education 6/1)

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