By MARK KNECHT
Chautauqua-Wawasee and Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum have collaborated to develop an exciting series of three programs that explore the history of Native Americans in northeastern Indiana. Each of the three one-hour programs will be presented over a three-day period, Sept. 5-7, at the Syracuse Community Center, 1013 North Long Drive, in Syracuse offered free of charge. Each program will feature presenters with expert knowledge, and provide an interactive environment for discussion.
The first program will be from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5. The program “Algonquin Inhabitants of Indiana’s Forest” will be presented by Joe Krom, the author of the historical novel Heart of a Warrior: The True Saga of Sweet Breeze and William Wells. His presentation will describe how indigenous people of northern Indiana formed confederations with other like groups for mutual support. They shared a common culture we today call “Algonquin.” Their course was altered over time under European influence. French traders, priests and military authorities brought new ideas along with useful implements. When the British “inherited” the land, their influence differed. A new upheaval emerged as Americans came in conquest. His program focuses on how the Miami and the Potawatomie nations responded to these influences.
Krom is a retired math teacher who pursued his interest in history. In edition to his first historical novel, Krom has written two novels on Ulysses Grant prior to the Civil War. He resides in Argos.
The second program will be 6:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6. This program will focus on the prehistory (10,000 B.C. to 1492 A.D.) of northeast Indiana and the Midwest. This unique program will be presented by Steve Hart, an award-winning historian who has spent 50 plus years building and adding to the Hart collection, specializing in arrowheads and slate ceremonial artifacts. Today the Hart Collection is comprised primarily of flint weapons and tools, ceremonial stone tools and adornments, pottery and numerous prehistoric smoking pipes.
Hart has served as assistant editor and vice-president of national artifact societies and regularly writes for several archaeology journals and collectors magazines about prehistory artwork.
The third program of the series will be from 10:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday morning, Sept. 7. This family-oriented program will provide a discussion and hands-on introduction to the J.P. Dolan Native American Collection. Eli Lilly’s lifelong interest in archaeology was sparked by meeting Dolan in 1929 to view his collection. Lilly was later instrumental in creating a standard of archaeology for the state of Indiana, which is still largely in place today. The Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum has been able to have the collection properly identified and catalogued, courtesy of a recent Heritage Support Grant provided by the Indiana Historical Society and made possible by Lilly Endowment. The program features three presenters: Jamie Clemons, director of the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum; Ann Garceau, who was the Heritage Support Grant coordinator and developed the museum’s educational exhibit; Jeff Mesaros, the author of The Art of Flintknapping.
Clemons is a graduate of Indian University South Bend with a degree in anthropology. Garceau, a Syracuse native, was an elementary school teacher for many years. Mesaros became interested in flintknapping as a boy. He participates in many living history and scouting events.
Additional information is available from each organization. Chautauqua-Wawasee at www.chqw.org and Candice at (574) 377-7543; Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum www.syracusemuseum.org and Jamie at (574) 457-3599.
Mark Knecht works as a program developer for Chautauqua-Wawasee and lives at Oakwood Resort in Syracuse.