3-5 April 2008
West Lafayette, Indiana
On the occasion of the bicentennial of the founding of Prophetstown by Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (The Shawnee Prophet) in 1808, the Society of Early Americanists and Purdue University will host an interdisciplinary scholarly summit on early Native American Studies that will feature panel presentations, workshops, and keynote sessions open to the public.
The founding of Prophetstown was an important historical moment, marking the first significant peaceful gesture on the part of indigenous North Americans to appropriate and utilize an "Indian" identity as a singular racial force of community and resistance. Pan-racial identification had been imagined and imposed by a series of European conquerors and colonizers for centuries, and pan-Indian identity would become the driving force behind the Jacksonian Policy of Indian Removal, enacted as law in 1830. The Shawnee Brothers' efforts were the first to coalesce and mobilize "Indians" on a continental level to oppose such efforts. Its brief efflorescence notwithstanding, it effectively marked the end of the era when tribes were set against one another by whites for their own selfish purposes.