Blast from the Past

Shirley David Jimerson

Nts’aa diit’eh? Shindu’ iihsoo’

Shirley David Jimerson shoosii’ Teelaiy kootiin iileh’ Bedzey Hot- tanna/Naltsiin tssaan; haaishshah.

This is how Shirley David Jimerson introduces herself, saying that she comes from the area known as Tetlin Alaska and came from the Caribou and Raven Clans.

Shirley was a little trouble maker in her younger days in school, a coun- selor at her school suggested Mt. Edgecum boarding school in Sitka Alaska. Shirley had several cousins that attended Mt. Edgecum and was excited For the idea. That spring she forged her fathers signature on the application and sent it in. During the summer her acceptance letter came in and said “Congratulations! You have been accepted into Haskell Institute, Lawrence Kansas.” And to her surprise, she was accepted
to go to Lawrence instead of Sitka. In 1963 at the age of 16, Shirley arrived at Haskell Institute in Lawrence Kansas traveling by bus all the way from Alaska.

Shirley liked Haskell and being in Lawrence, especially because back home her parents were dealing with 9 other children. The years Shirley attended Haskell Institute she stayed with the high school girls in Minoka hall where they lived in a room divided by cubicles. A typical day for her consists of waking up early at 6am to bathe and eat breakfast then fast to class. Breaks for lunch then back to class until it was dinner time then their short period of free time where they were able to socialize at the “Shack” with the opposite sex or in her case, make her best memories where she would hang out with her roomies June Youngdeer Nelson and Janis Chingman- Sage.

Shirley met her husband of 54 years at Haskell Institute, her friend Daph- ne Sneed introduced Michael Jimer- son to Shirley at the “Shack”. Shirley needed a light for her cigarette and walked up to a group of boys that were smoking and asked for a life, all the boy but one said they didn’t have one, Michael stepped up and offered his lighter and provided the spark that lit her cigarette and their relationship that will last a lifetime. The pair graduated in 1965, the last graduating high school class at Haskell Institute and got married that fall in Northway Alaska.

Michael D. Jimerson

NyaW’eh Shano’

Is how Michael D. Jimerson a Seneca Nation member from the sovereign territory of Seneca Nation in Western New York. As Michaels high school years were coming to an end, he was in a hard spot trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his future. A big influence on his choices was the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) person for his nation who suggested Haskell Institute as an opportunity for education as he himself attended the school and his aunt that helped him decide whether or not to attend.
As when Michael first heard of Haskell Institute he immediately thought of a hospital or worse but was able to think past the name and give it a try.

Michael arrived at Haskell Institute in 1963 and was the only male from New York attended Haskell at the time. The two years her attended Haskell Institute he stayed in Osceola-Keokuk hall and shared a room with three other boys who were all Cherokee from Oklahoma. Michael was one of many male students that took up welding as a trade. A typical day for him was to be woken up at 6am to bathe and eat, then for the first part of the day would be spent in classes like math and physics of mechanical drawing. After morning classes would be lunch then shop time where they would work on individual projects and improving their skills.

During Michaels time at Haskell Institute the welding students took on a group project for Stidham Hall as the all collaborated in the welding and fabrication of the metal totem pole near the main entrance
of Stidham Hall. Michael recalled that is favorite memory of school life at Haskell Institute was being able to meet and make friends with student from all different tribes from all over the indigenous US, as we all have stories to tell and meeting his partner in life- Shirley David.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *