Senior Will Mitchell has passed by the red brick buildings on W. 53rd St. in Fairway, Kan. many times. Mitchell wouldn’t think much of those buildings that make up the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Site when he passed them. But now, after attending an inter-school student council meeting, he’s working to spread awareness of them.
Mitchell is part of the inter-school student council set up by Superintendent Dr. Jim Hinson where students from each Shawnee Mission school meet to discuss issues about the district. At the most recent meeting, Dr. Hinson brought the students to the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Site located on W. 53rd St. in Fairway, Kan.
“[Dr. Hinson] described the situation the site is in and how no one really knows about it’s existence, and how it is a very important piece of Kansas culture that is being threatened to be closed down,” Mitchell said. “He asked all of us to help and I’ve just tried to help spread the word.”
The site has been in existence since October 1839 and has been a historical landmark of Kansas since 1927. The landmark consists of a house and a school that has now been converted into a museum. In the early 1800s, the school was used to teach Native American tribes, such as the Kaw, Ottawa, Omaha and Wyandot, basic academics, manual arts and agriculture. In its peak, there were more than 16 buildings where more than 200 Native Americans were taught.
However, due to the decrease in visitors, there is a possibility that the historical site might be shut down. Dr. Hinson challenged the members of the inter-school council to find ways to bring more people to the Shawnee Indian Mission. Mitchell brought the idea to STUCO and talked with the SHARE program about creating a project where students can go volunteer at the center.
“[Students should care about this historical site] because it is an important part of Kansas culture that goes back hundreds of years,” Mitchell said. “It is right in the middle of the community and something that we should all be aware of.”
If you are interested in helping Mitchell, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.