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Category: Teaching Native American History

On Student Retention

On Student Retention

We have been discussing matters related to student retention at my college.  Only 85% of first year students return to Geneseo for their sophomore year.  If we are losing three out of twenty freshmen, I suspect that what we have done in the past with great success may no longer be working. And given the sums of money we collect from students and their parents, I believe we have an ethical obligation to do better. We cannot put it all…

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Town Destroyer in Paradise: How George Washington Ended up Just Outside Handsome Lake’s Heaven

Town Destroyer in Paradise: How George Washington Ended up Just Outside Handsome Lake’s Heaven

I recently read Colin Calloway’s book on The Indian World of George Washington, and that got me thinking about two very different depictions of our nation’s first President.  I write about the Senecas, with whom these particular depictions originate, in Native America. In the late 1790s, the great Seneca prophet Handsome Lake experienced a series of visions that became the basis of the Gaiwiio, the good news of peace and power, the “old time” religion still practiced by many Haudenosaunee…

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What the Public Knows about Native Americans is a Convoluted Mess

What the Public Knows about Native Americans is a Convoluted Mess

I have spent some time reading through the research recently published by the Reclaiming Native Truth Project.  You can read a version of their report for native peoples in native communities, another version for allies, and a third with analysis and conclusions based on the data its researchers collected. Five questions guided Native Truth’s research:  1. What are the dominant stories about Native peoples in North America? 2. Who holds these views? 3. How do these views affect public policy,…

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Easy A

Easy A

Over the break, while sitting in the airport in Las Vegas, I took a few minutes to read Gary Landerman’s essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Why I’m Easy: On Giving Lots of A’s.” Landerman correctly notes that many of our students experience enormous amounts of stress in college.  Grades, he correctly argues, wield enormous influence in determining the sorts of opportunities a graduate will enjoy.  Part of Landerman’s plan, then, “is to try to show love and empathy…

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Book Orders are In

Book Orders are In

As the semester comes crashing to a close, I did manage to get my book orders in on time for next semester.  For my survey course in Native American History, I will be assigning: Prucha, Documents of United States Indian Policy, 3rd Edition Hoxie, Talking Back to Civilization Treuer, Rez Life Oberg, Native America, 2nd ed. Calloway, Our Hearts Fell to the Ground, 2nd edition and Silverman, Red Brethren.   For my course in American Colonial History, students will read:…

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Onondaga, 1918: A Declaration of War, and Other Stories

Onondaga, 1918: A Declaration of War, and Other Stories

In August of 1918, the following news story appeared in the Syracuse Post-Standard.   Under the headline, “Indians to Declare War Upon Germany,” and a smaller title indicating that “Gohl Says He Has Been Chosen to Draft Paper Because Stranded Onondagas Were Insulted” we learn something of an adopted Onondaga, a group of imprisoned circus performers, and inexplicably angry Germans and Austrians. “Edward M. Gohl, adopted Onondaga Indian and adviser of the tribe, announced tonight he had been delegated by the Onondagas…

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Teaching on Native Ground

Teaching on Native Ground

Last Friday, the 9th of March, 2018, was Teachers’ Day at Geneseo, an event my colleagues in the History Department have held for the past several years.  We invite teachers from public schools to come to campus.  They attend a workshop in American history and another in World History.  In the past, we have had a keynote address held at lunchtime, but this year, my colleagues decided to do something different: a roundtable discussion on ways to involve high school…

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The Lewis Henry Morgan School in Rochester New York

The Lewis Henry Morgan School in Rochester New York

If you study the Iroquois, you have come across the work of the pioneering anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan.  He published in the middle of the nineteenth century The League of the Ho-dé-no-sau-nee or Iroquois.  It is an important book. Though many of Morgan’s findings have been rejected, there is no doubting the significance of the work.  His ties to the Parker family at Tonawanda gained him extraordinary access at a period when many Americans still anticipated that the Iroquois, like other…

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The Right’s War on History

The Right’s War on History

There is a guy named Bob Lonsberry who has hosted a local right-wing radio show here in Rochester for many years.  I have mentioned him before on this blog in response to his tweets some months back about Columbus Day.  Lonsberry, who about a decade and a half ago was suspended from his job for referring to the city’s African-American mayor as “a monkey,” and who whole-heartedly endorsed the Clown Prince of Mar-A-Lago’s characterization of those parts of the world…

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American Indian Law and Public Policy.

American Indian Law and Public Policy.

The semester begins for me tomorrow morning, and I will be teaching, among other things, my course in American Indian Law and Public Policy. The course is cross-listed in both the departments of history and American studies, and is the one required course in the college’s tiny Native American studies minor. I apologize in advance for the crazy formatting–I am still learning this whole WordPress thing, but I hope this is enough to give you the gist of what I…

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