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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

December 7, 2009
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830
Charlene Brown, UMD Library Communication & Events representative 218-726-8539,
Liz Benson Johnson, UMD Assistant Library Director 218-726-6561,
Website: Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country: 200 Years of American History

UMD Library Hosts NATIONAL Traveling Exhibit
"Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country"

Winter Village of the Minatarres

Karl Bodmer. "Winter Village of the Minatarres [sic]," from Prince Maximilian of Wied's Travels to the Interior of North America, 1843-44. The Newberry Library, Chicago.

This lithograph was based on sketches made at Fort Clark, an American Fur Company post built in 1834 across the Missouri river from Lewis and Clark's former camp. At the time, the Hidatsas were also called "Minatarees."

"Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country," a national traveling exhibition coming to the University of Minnesota Duluth Library January 4 through February 25, 2010, tells the story of the explorers' historic 1804?1806 expedition from the point of view of the Indians who lived along the route. The exhibit will be free and open to the public, on display in the library's fourth floor rotunda reading room. The UMD Library was selected as one of 27 sites for this six-year national traveling exhibition.

A traditional opening ceremony on Friday, January 15, will include drumming, prayer, and welcome statements by guests and UMD Library Director Bill Sozansky in UMD's Weber Music Hall, followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibit in the fourth floor of the UMD Library. Refreshments will be provided by Friends of the Duluth Public Library. The public is cordially invited to the opening ceremony and the reception.

Associated events will give visitors the opportunity to learn more about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Dr. Bruce White, who wrote We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People, will speak on the topic "Avoiding Discovery: Lewis and Clark from a Minnesota Point of View" in the Kirby Ballroom, UMD campus, starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 28.

On Thursday, February 11, 6:30-10 p.m., a panel of UMD American Indian Studies faculty will lead further discussion in Kirby Ballroom, UMD. Presenters will include Linda LeGarde Grover, David Aubid, Jill Doerfler, and Heidi Kiiwtinepinesiik Stark.

During their journey to the Pacific coast and back, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their small group of voyagers crossed the traditional homelands of more than 50 Native American tribes. The exhibit examines this monumental encounter of cultures and the past and present effects of that encounter on the lives of the tribes still living in the region.

"What often gets lost in the story is that Lewis and Clark did not explore a wilderness?they traveled through an inhabited homeland," says Frederick E. Hoxie, the exhibit's curator and Swanlund Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "This expedition is part of the history of the native peoples the explorers met, and the exhibit offers us an opportunity to understand an Indian perspective on our shared American past."

The story of the Lewis and Clark expedition is well known to most Americans, but the Native American perspective is not as well known. Although this great journey essentially opened American eyes to the West and encouraged national expansion, it also contributed to a dramatic change in the well-established cultures of the Indian tribes already living in the region.

In 1800, the Native American communities along the path of Lewis and Clark were thriving. Hunting, fishing, farming, and commerce were the foundations for tribal prosperity. Indians provided vital assistance to the explorers?the Voyage of Discovery most likely would not have been the success it was without their aid.

But by 1900, Native Americans found it almost impossible to maintain their traditional lifeways. Mining, homesteading, ranching, and the fur trade had all undermined the centuries-old traditions of the Indian country. Smallpox decimated tribes and "Americanization" campaigns sought to suppress all aspects of traditional culture.

"Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country" draws upon original documents in the rich Native American collections of the Newberry Library, and in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, the Minnesota Historical Society, and other institutions.

Organized by the Newberry Library, Chicago, in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, "Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country" was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): great ideas brought to life. Additional support came from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Sara Lee Foundation is the lead corporate sponsor; Ruth C. Ruggles and the National Park Service also supported the exhibit.

Docent guided tours are available for groups, including an introduction to the exhibition and printed handouts. Call 218-726-8130 or visit for more information.

A related UMD Library in-house exhibit presents information on the history of local Indian country. Selected Great Lakes regional maps show northeast Minnesota in a larger context. Photographs from the Library's Northeast Minnesota Historical Center archives depict area Ojibwe individuals, families, and homes from communities including Nett Lake, Grand Marais, Grand Portage, Fond du Lac, and Duluth.

Associated Events

Friday, January 15: Opening Ceremony

Formal Ojibwe opening with drum, prayer, and welcome statements by guests and UMD Library Director Bill Sozansky.

Weber Music Hall, UMD Campus, 5:30 p.m. doors open; 6 p.m. event begins.

Reception: UMD Library 4th Floor, 7 p.m. Refreshments provided by Friends of the Duluth Public Library.

Thursday, January 28: Avoiding Discovery: Lewis and Clark from a Minnesota Point of View

Presented by Dr. Bruce White, author of We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.

Kirby Ballroom, UMD Campus, 7 p.m.

Thursday, February 11: Faculty Panel Discussion

Presenters: Dr. Linda LeGarde Grover, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies and a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe; Dr. David Aubid, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies; and Dr. Jill Doerfler, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies; and Dr. Heidi Kiiwtinepinesiik Stark, Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies.

Kirby Ballroom, UMD Campus, 6:30-10 p.m.

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