Haskell University mourns loss of basketball standout Darrian Diwayan

By Acee Agoyo

Haskell Indian Nations University is mourning the loss of Darrian Diwayan, a basketball standout who was from the Pueblo of Laguna.

Diwayan died in a residential hall on Wednesday afternoon, acting president Daniel Wildcat said in a statement. She was a sophomore at the federally-operated tribal college in Kansas.

"No words can express our grief at this moment, so today be will different. We have lost a beautiful young woman to our Haskell family," Wildcat, who is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, said in a statement to the community on Thursday morning.

Diwayan's passing was first reported on Thursday by The Indian Leader, the campus paper. A cause of death wasn't disclosed in the story.

Posted by Haskell Athletics on Thursday, March 7, 2019
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Residents of Laguna, located in New Mexico, were told that Diwayan died by suicide, a person close to the family told Indianz.Com. Her parents were informed of her passing Wednesday afternoon and drove all night from their reservation to Kansas to be with their loved one, the person said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and we are working to assist them during this tremendous time of loss," Wildcat said in his statement.

Students hosted a candlelight vigil for Diwayan on Thursday evening. Many wore blue ribbons in her honor

"Prayers to the family. We are so sorry for this news. We are thinking of our entire Haskell family at this time," Patricia Mills wrote on social media on behalf of herself and Billy Mills, the Olympian from the Oglala Sioux Tribe who attended Haskell.

Diwayan, who stood 6 ft tall, was #33 on the Haskell women's basketball team. She is being remembered for her energy and personality and for being a confidant among peers and team mates.

“The news of Darrian’s passing is divesting to our entire community," head coach Shane Flanagan said in a statement. "She was a part of our program for the past two years and she made each of us smile and laugh with her unique sense of humor and warm heart."

"Not only was Darrian a special part of the Haskell Women’s Basketball program, she always hugged and joked with my son and daughter every time she saw them, and though sometimes shy, they always opened up to her," Flanagan said. "We will miss her caring, thoughtful spirit, but because of the mark she left on each of us she will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Diwayan family through this difficult time.”

Though Diwayan was from New Mexico, she attended and played basketball at Riverside Indian School in Oklahoma. The school is an off-reservation boarding school operated by the Bureau of Indian Education.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the federal agency that oversees Haskell, confirmed that police from Lawrence, Kansas, were on campus this week to investigate the incident.

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