ARKANSAS CITY, Kan.
Five American Indian tribes plan to
renovate and refurbish a historic Indian school into a living history
museum, a tribal leader said.
The 165-acre site once
housed the Chilocco Indian School, which educated thousands of American
Indians of various tribes from 1884 until it closed in 1980.
"We are trying to
return it to its glory days, and have extensive economic development
plans," said Michael Harwell, chairman of the Otoe-Missouria tribe.
The Chilocco property,
which has more than 70 buildings, was listed last month in the National
Register of Historic Places, although some of the buildings are in bad
need of repair.
"This is the second
oldest Indian school property after another school in Carlisle in
Pennsylvania," Harwell said.
Harwell said he met
Friday with other tribal leaders from the Five Tribes of Chilocco, the
Tonkawa tribe; the Kaw Nation; the Ponca Nation and the Pawnee Tribe.
"We are looking at
doing a master plan and bringing in a major developer such as Disney,"
Harwell said. Another planning session on the project was scheduled for
The area around the
school has recently been the site of new development, including the
opening of the Native Lights Casino, a travel plaza and plans by the
Pawnee Nation for a casino resort with a hotel and restaurant.
Donna Jones Flood,
historian with a Chilocco alumni group, said having the property listed on
the national register will give Chilocco tribal leaders a chance to
receive grants to improve the property.
"Things are looking
good," said Flood, of Ponca City. "It'll be good for Ark City; it'll be a
Arkansas City is in
south-central Kansas near the Oklahoma border.