Why Occupy the Wakarusa Wetlands?!

creative commons photo from wikipedia

creative commons photo from wikipedia

The City of Lawrence wants to build the South Lawrence Trafficway right through the Wakarusa Wetlands destroying great swaths of the wetlands and bisecting who knows how many wild animals environment. Just so the good people of Lawrence can shave a few minutes off their daily commute. So what’s so important about this land that we should stand in the way of “progress”. Let me tell you.
The Haskell-Baker Wetlands or Wakarusa Wetlands is a nature preserve spanning almost 640 acres just south of Lawrence, Kansas. In 1969 the wetlands were declared a National Natural Landmark. There are only 5 such areas in the state of Kansas with this distinction. These wetlands are home to 471 documented vascular plants, 254 species of bird and another 61 vertebrates besides the before mentioned birds. This includes one endangered species of bird called the Least Tern.
If that is not enough for you that this trafficway will be extremely damaging to this delicate ecosystem lets not forget that this land is also an important historic and sacred site for Native Americans from all over the nation. In the late 1800s after the end of the U.S. Indian Treaty Negotiations the U.S. government began policies to “civilize” the American Indian population. One of these policies was to remove American Indian children from their families and move them to far off boarding schools where they would be taught in the European ways and severely disciplined for trying to keep up any of their traditions, such as speaking their native language. The Haskell school was one of the first of these Indian boarding schools opened back in 1884. The school was built in the wetlands because the local farmers had no use for the area. This school’s goal was to “kill the indian and save the man”. The students used parts of the wetlands to secretly perform ceremonies, pray, commune with nature and even bury their fellow students who died at the harsh boarding school making these wetlands an Indian burial ground.
So I say we should help Occupy the Wakarusa Wetlands this weekend October 25-27. It is the least we can do to stand in the way of the bull dozers set to destroy these important lands. For more information go to the following links: https://www.facebook.com/wetlandspreservationorganization

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