Man charged with tipi arson in Lawrence is Native American, sheriff’s office says

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — A Kansas man was charged Friday, May 15 in connection with a fire that damaged a ceremonial tipi at Haskell Indian Nations University.

Thirty-two-year-old Ryan Adam Sekayouma Simpson, of Lawrence, was charged with arson, a felony, and two counts of misdemeanor criminal trespassing, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

Simpson is Native American, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office inmate listing.

The tipi, which was built to honor the 2020 graduating class at Haskell, was destroyed by fire early on May 9 at the school’s campus in Lawrence.

The Lawrence-Douglas County fire department said Monday the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were helping with the investigation.

Simpson was arrested Thursday. The motive behind the tipi burning is unclear.

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