Prophetstown Revisited: An Early Native American Studies Summit

Unless otherwise noted, all events take place in Stewart Center.

Thursday (April 3, 2008)

10:00 a.m. – 11:30. a.m.

Bus tour of Historic Prophetstown, led by Professor Dawn Marsh, Purdue History Department.  For more information and to sign up, email Cassie Smith (

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Registration, Stewart Center East Foyer

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Panel – “Before Prophetstown”
Susan Sleeper-Smith, Michigan State University, chair

Workshop – “Building Networks of Relation and Exchange:  Scholarship with Native Communities”

The field of Native American Studies has placed a renewed emphasis on the importance of working cooperatively and responsibly with Native communities.   How can early Native American studies establish responsible and reciprocal relationships with Native communities?  University-based scholars and Native communities both stand to benefit from increased communication and interaction. This workshop will offer practical insights into developing Native-academic networks of relationship and exchange in our scholarship and our classrooms. Our conversation will discuss benefits that stem from these relationships, as well as ways to address the challenges they sometimes entail.

As a common text for the workshop, we will be using the introduction and first chapter from the book Natives and Academics, which will be available to those registered for the conference.


3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.


3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Panel – “During Prophetstown”
Edward Watts, Michigan State University, chair

Panel – “Faith/Race”
Hilary Wyss, Auburn University, chair

Workshop – “Culture Keepers: Historic Preservation and Protection in Tribal Communities”
                     Sponsored by the Tecumseh Group, Purdue University

This workshop concerns the contemporary mission of tribal preservation offices: maintaining cultural identity by protecting and preserving traditional lifeways and historic/cultural sites.  Discussion will touch on current issues such as data management, section 106 responsibilities and fostering cultural participation of language and art revitalization. 


6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Conference Banquet, Memorial Union Ballroom


Blessing, Andrew Warrior, Director, Cultural Preservation Department, Absentee Shawnee Tribe

Keynote Address – Rick West, founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian, Memorial Union Ballroom

Friday (April 4, 2008)

8:30 a.m.

Coffee in the break room

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Panel – “Lands/Borderlands”
Neal Salisbury, chair

Panel – “After Prophetstown”
Nicole Livengood, Purdue University, chair

Workshop – “Envisioning History:  New Technologies for Presenting the Past”

Participants include Sorin Matei (Purdue University, Communications) and Gary Foreman (Native Sun Productions).  This workshop will offer demonstrations of two cutting-edge approaches to collecting, remembering, studying, and making accessible history and historic places and events, followed by a conversation about best practices for representing history, reaching new audiences and including diverse communities.  Of particular interest will be the possibilities for adapting these approaches to Prophetstown.


10:30 a.m – 11:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Panel – “Oratory/Performance”
Sandra Gustafson, University of Notre Dame, chair

Joy Howard, Purdue University, chair

Workshop“The Words of the Prophet (and Tecumseh too)”

As scholars analyze the spread of Tenskwatawa’s spiritual movement and the leadership of Tecumseh in the Native resistance to U.S. colonization of the Old Northwest, the actual spoken words of the two men are an invaluable source. From about 1808 until 1813, many individuals set down records of speeches they claimed to have heard the men utter, transcriptions which appeared in a variety of printed works. Among the most important scenes are Tecumseh’s meeting with William Henry Harrison in Vincennes in August 1810, and his rebuke of General Proctor in 1813, as well as the Prophet’s articulation of his prophetic vision, and statements of his message such as are found in John Tanner’s Narrative. But methodological problems are numerous:

James H. Merrell’s article on Teedyuscung’s 1756 treaty council speeches, published in the October 2006 issue of William and Mary Quarterly, offers a model for our analysis of Tecumseh and the Prophet’s speeches, and will be available electronically to registered workshop participants in advance of the meeting. The workshop will look at key sources including Benjamin Drake, Moses Dawson, John Richardson, John Tanner, John Dunn Hunter, C. C. Trowbridge, William Henry Harrison, and archives such as the Draper manuscripts at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Leader:  Gordon Sayre, University of Oregon

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Lunch break

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Panel – “Native American Medical Knowledge in Colonial Encounters”
Ralph Bauer, University of Maryland, chair

Workshop –  “Teaching Native American Texts in High School and Middle School”

This workshop will emphasize pedagogy and hands-on strategies for teaching Native American materials.  Discussion will begin with topics suggested by high school educators who have attended previous SEA meetings as well as members of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures listserve, but will continue with topics suggested by workshop participants.  While the emphasis is on high school and middle school education, the workshop is also intended to be useful to college and university faculty with students who are English/Secondary Education majors.


3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Panel – “Changing the Critical Narratives of Early Native American Studies”
Eric Gary Anderson, George Mason University, chair

Workshop – “Re-appropriating Early Documents:  Language and Image”
                     Sponsored by the Tecumseh Group, Purdue University

Native Americans have been documented since early contact by outsiders, the “other,” by use of the written word, drawings, paintings and/or photography to capture a native community’s way of life. How are primary documents like these meaningful to a native community today? Can they be re-appropriated in a way that they become internally pertinent? What use can they have for the issues that are of relevance to the native community of the 21st century?

This workshop will look at how Native Americans in present-day have re-appropriated, re-interpreted and decolonized early documents created by outsiders from an internal perspective. The workshop aims to create a forum for exchange of experiences in dealing with early documents in a way that can be of relevance to present-day native communities.  Participants include Daryl Baldwin, Myaamia, jessie little doe, Wampanoag.



5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Dinner on your own

8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Keynote Event – “An Evening with Chris Eyre”; screening of A Thousand Roads (2005) and preview of the Tecumseh documentary for the PBS series “We Shall Remain.”

Lafayette Theater, 600 Main Street, Lafayette.  Busses leave from the front of the Union Hotel from 5:30-6:30, and will return following the event.

Saturday (April 5, 2008)

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Coffee available in the plenary room

9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Plenary Roundtable – “More Materials into Play: How Can We Make More Early Native Materials Accessible?”

Dennis Moore, Florida State University, moderator

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Keynote Address – Gregory Evans Dowd, Director of the Program in American Culture, University of Michigan

1:00 p.m

Optional event:  excursion to Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis.  Busses leave from Union Hotel at 1:00.  Box lunch provided; registration required.