…even the dead are not allowed to rest.

“Huron Cemetery is to be sold. The government has broken every treaty with the Indians and they have been driven place to place until even the dead are not allowed to rest in peace.”

Excerpt from a February 8, 1910 Letter of Protest by McIntyre Armstrong, Wyandot Nation (1852-1926). The letter was written after the Supreme Court of the United States decision to uphold the lower court’s dismissal of Lyda Conley’s case to prevent the government from selling the Wyandot burial ground located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas.  With the case, Lyda Conley became the first woman attorney of Native American heritage to argue before the Supreme Court.

By the way, Lyda and her sisters, Lena and Ida, occupied the cemetery grounds in an 8 x 6′ shack built next to their parent’s graves for several years in an attempt to prevent the sale of the Huron Place Cemetery.

Despite losing the Supreme Court case, many of Lyda’s legal arguments became the cornerstones for future laws enacted to protect the land and property of Native American Tribes. In addition, the legal case and the Sisters’ act of civil disobedience, raised enough support among the citizens of Kansas City for the Huron Cemetery to protect it from sale to economic developers. The cemetery, later renamed the Wyandot National Burial Ground, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. In January of 2017, the United States National Parks Service announced the elevation of the cemetery to a designated National Historic Landmark, the Wyandotte National Burying Ground (Eliza Burton Conley Burial Site).

In my humble opinion, Lyda Conley should definitely be a member of the #BygoneBadassBroads list.


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