Professor shares Native American experiences
By Clifton Lyons
Published on Friday, July 13, 2012
Educators from around the country came to Dartmouth this week to participate in a week-long seminar, sponsored by the New York-based Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, aimed at improving the pedagogy of the discipline of Native American history and exploring Native American encounters with the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Participants in the seminar, including teachers, library workers and National Park Service interpreters, were selected to attend through a competitive process and discussed broader facets of American Indian history, including government policies concerning native people and the importance of Native American history to understanding history.
History and Native American studies professor Colin Calloway, the director of the seminar, said that the main focus was on the expedition as both a pivotal event in American history and a case study in cultural contact.
“This is the second time I’ve done the seminar on Native American history at Dartmouth,” Calloway said. “We focus on Lewis and Clark in Indian country because their journals of the expedition provide a rich documentary base for thinking about Indian country and cultural encounters at the time, as well as providing a case study for discussion of broader issues in Native American and U.S. history.”
Calloway said that having previously taught high school classes, he strives to provide teachers with materials, information and ideas that they might be able to apply in the classroom.
“It’s always a rewarding experience,” Calloway said. “The teachers are always interested, have their own experiences and expertise to share, and are eager to find ways of enhancing what they teach. As a professor of Native American history, I regard getting Native American history into American classrooms as essential to help dispel the kind of stereotypes that persist, to give students a fuller understanding of the history of the U.S. as a nation built on Indian land and to have them think about the larger and much longer history of a continent inhabited by numerous Native nations.”
The dedication of the teachers who attend the seminar is always impressive, Calloway said.
Seminar participants were asked to read “New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans and the Remaking of Early America,” by Calloway, and “The Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery,” by Gary Moulton, prior to arriving.
Seminar participants each received on-campus housing for the entire week and a $400 reimbursement for travel expenses, and are also offered three hours of graduate credit in American history by Adams State College, according to the institute’s official website.
Adams State College will also give participants the opportunity to take additional online and distance coursework that counts toward a master’s degree in history.
The seminar began on July 8 and will conclude on July 14.
The Gilder Lerhman Institute in New York offers a number of similar week-long seminars in American history each year at various institutions across the country, including Columbia University and the University of Mississippi.