Conference to explore impact of War of 1812 on Native Americans in Ohio 2012.04.18

Written by David Green.

A conference is scheduled in northwest Ohio to explore the impact of the War of 1812 on Native Americans in Ohio. The conference, scheduled May 10 to 12, will commemorate the War of 1812 Bicentennial.

Nationally known Native American scholars and Native leaders will convene at Defiance College, Sauder Village and Northwest State Community College for a three-day conference focusing on the tribes removed from Ohio to Kansas and Oklahoma.

Dr. John P. Bowes, associate professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, is the keynote speaker. He has written several books on Native American history and is currently working on a book titled “Northern Indian Removal: An Unfamiliar History.”

Dr. Bowes will present “The War of 1812’s Impact on the Native Americans of Ohio” at 8 p.m. May 10 at the Schomberg Auditorium on the Defiance College campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

On May 11, presentations are planned at the Heritage Inn at Sauder Village. Dr. Dawn March, assistant professor of history at Purdue University, will open the conference with her perspective on the Delaware Nation and how it was affected by the War of 1812.

Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Professor of Law at Michigan State University, will present “The Ottawa” session. Fletcher is director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center and a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Cheppewa Indians located in Peshawbestown, Mich. His background in Indigenous law and his Native heritage will bring a personal perspective about his tribe.

Afternoon sessions will feature Dr. Melissa Rinehart and Dr. Stephen Warren. A visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Miami University, Dr. Rinehart’s lecture on the Miami Nation is based on research she gathered while doing her dissertation on the recovery of the Miami Nation’s language.

“The Shawnee” will be presented by Dr. Warren, Professor of History at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., who served as a consultant for “Tecumseh’s Vision,” part of the PBS series “We Shall Remain.” His session is based on research he did for his book, “The Shawnees and Their Neighbors, 1795-1870.”

Conference attendees will also have an opportunity to visit Natives and Newcomers, a living-history exhibit at Sauder Village. At this award-winning exhibit, costumed interpreters will bring to life the daily lives of Native Americans living in northwest Ohio from 1803-1830. By visiting the wigwams, smelling the traditional foods cooking over the fire and exploring the Trading Post, guests can learn what life was like for the hundreds of Native Americans who called northwest Ohio home, as well as learn how they interacted with their environment, each other and the Europeans who were beginning to move into this region.

On May 12, sessions are scheduled in the George Voinovich Auditorium at Northwest State Community College.

Randall Buchman, local historian and Professor Emeritus of History at Defiance College, will talk about the effect of the war and the removal on the Seneca-Cayuga tribe. Buchman has written three books on Native American history in northwest Ohio. 

Representatives from eight tribes will be part of a panel discussion on how the War of 1812 impacted their tribes and the Trans Mississippi Experience.” George Ironstack, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Assistant Director of the Myaamia Project at Miami University, will act as moderator of this discussion.

Conference registration costs $70, and includes all conference activities, two meals and admission to the Native and Newcomers exhibit. A complete conference schedule and registration form are available online at

For more information, call Sauder Village at 419/446-2541 or Defiance College at 419/783-2462.

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