Tribes hope to save campus by seeking historical status

By Dawn Marks
NewsOK.com
April 1, 2005

NEWKIRK - Five Oklahoma Indian tribes voted Thursday to seek National
Register of Historic Places designation for the old Chilocco Indian School.
Bret Carter, a Preservation Oklahoma board member, said the tribes
instructed him and other volunteers to begin the nomination process.

The campus consists mostly of buildings constructed between 1900 and 1920 of limestone quarried on the property. The buildings, last used by a drug and
alcohol treatment program, have been vacant since 2001.

"We've had a lot of feedback from the alumni and they don't want to see the
school razed," said Michael Harwell, speaker of the Chilocco board. "There's
a lot of history there."

Leaders of the Confederated Tribes of Chilocco make up the board. The five
tribes are the Otoe-Missouria, Ponca, Pawnee, Kaw and Tonkawa.

Plans being considered include turning the school into a museum and cultural
center, Harwell said.

A Minnesota-based company announced last week that it planned to build a
casino resort for the Pawnee Nation elsewhere on the sprawling Chilocco
grounds.

Preservation Oklahoma included the school on its list of most endangered
historic properties the past two years and encouraged the tribes to seek
nomination to the national register, executive director Heather Seifert
said.

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