English Students Petition for Return of Artifactspublished June 21, 2023
Highland Community College English students traveled the short distance east of the City of Highland to the Iowa and Sac & Fox Mission Museum in October 2022. While there, students learned from the director of the Museum, Mike Kelley, that many of the items belonging to the Mission were removed when it closed in 2008 and were in holding with the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka.
Upon return to the classroom, instructors Mary Bryant and Pamela Fulbright supported students in their letter writing efforts to raise awareness of the removed items with a goal to have them returned to the Museum. Students also contacted the Peace and Justice Department of Topeka requesting their assistance with a peaceful petition for the return of the artifacts.
In response to the requests from the students and the Peace and Justice Department, Kelley was asked to attend the Dec. 13 board meeting of the Kansas State Historical Society. The return of artifacts to the Museum was on the agenda. Discussion at the board meeting resulted in an additional meeting with the Historical Society in February to decide which items would be returned to the Museum.
Mike Kelley stated in February, “I spent the day with the Kansas State Historical Society archaeological archivist to dig through many of the state’s holdings. We were able to put together a pretty good selection of items of cultural interest to be transferred back to the Mission Museum. I will return in about two weeks to look at more items. All in all, we are making a lot of positive forward progress.”
In March, students visited the Museum again to take part in a cultural event with guest speaker Megan Kaminski, titled “Listening to Place” about nature walking and writing. On their visit to the Museum, students saw the beginning of some of the items being returned to the Museum.
The Iowa and Sac & Fox Mission Museum is open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Memorial Day. After Memoria Day, they’ll expand to summer hours being open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The address is 1737 Elgin Road in Highland, Kansas. If you have questions, you may call (785) 272-8681. For more information on the history of Iowa and Sac & Fox Museum, visit the Kansas Historical Society’s website here.