Lewis & Clark exhibit coming

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Remembered on a stamp and coin is Sacagawea, Shoshone guide and interpreter for the Corps of Discovery expedition of 1804-06

Remembered on a stamp and coin is Sacagawea, Shoshone guide and interpreter for the Corps of Discovery expedition of 1804-06.

Remembered on a stamp and coin is Sacagawea, Shoshone guide and interpreter for the Corps of Discovery expedition of 1804-06 Meriwether Lewis (left) and William Clark, leaders of the Corps of Discovery expedition of 1804-06 

The St. Cloud State University library is hosting the "Lewis & Clark and the Indian Country" traveling exhibit, through Dec. 11.

The 1,000-square-foot exhibit is on the second floor of the James W. Miller Learning Resources Center. The exhibit is free and open to the public, and organizers encourage groups and classes to take advantage of this unique educational opportunity.

Elements of "Lewis & Clark and the Indian Country" will depict Indian Country prior to the arrival of Lewis and Clark and will bring local audiences new perspectives on the encounters of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery with Native Americans between 1804 and 1806.

The exhibit tells the story of the explorers’ historic expedition from the perspective of the Native peoples who lived along their route. 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.

"Lewis & Clark and the Indian Country" examines this monumental meeting of cultures and examines the past and present effects of that encounter on the lives of the tribes that still live in the region. Among the Native American nations that crossed paths with Lewis and Clark and continue to live in the same area, on greatly reduced tribal lands, are the Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Mandan and Walla Walla. These tribes are committed to carrying on the ways of life and values of their ancient cultures, as well as upholding their languages and traditions.

St. Cloud State University will offer several public programs to accompany the exhibit:

  • Fred Hoxie, the exhibit’s curator and Swanlund Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will present the lecture "Getting Lewis and Clark Right: Who Cares? Why Worry?" 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Miller Center Auditorium.
  • The opening reception for the exhibition follows the Hoxie lecture at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, on the Miller Center’s second floor. The opening reception is hosted by the St. Cloud State University library and sponsored by the Northern Great Plains History Conference.
  • "Intercultural Relations in Central Minnesota," a panel discussion, is 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in Voyageurs South, Atwood Memorial Center. Panelists are Hedy Tripp, Create CommUNITY; Eddah Mutua-Kombo, Communication Studies; Mary Sam, Mille Lacs Area Human Rights Commission. Moderating the panel is Darlene St. Clair, director of the Multicultural Resource Center and a Mdewakantonwan Dakota.
  • A workshop for elementary, secondary, community college and university educators will be offered 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Miller Center, Rooms 114/115. This workshop is designed to encourage teachers to use the exhibit in their classroom instruction and promote local students and classes to view the exhibit and attend programming.
  • Craig Howe (Oglala Lakota), director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS) and faculty member at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation, will present the lecture "Hate Speech, Horses, and Hostages: The Untold Story of Lewis & Clark in Teton Territory" from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in the Miller Center Auditorium. A reception will follow.
  • Lise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) will read her children’s book "Sacagawea" and present a program for youth  from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the St. Cloud Public Library in the Mississippi Room. Erdrich has worked the last 25 years in various tribal programs, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Education. She currently works at the Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton, North Dakota.

View details about "Lewis & Clark and the Indian Country."

The exhibit 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. Photographs of handwritten documents, maps, paintings and drawings provide a colorful background for the story of the encounter.

Organized by the Newberry Library, Chicago, in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, "Lewis & 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.

Public programs are supported by the following St. Cloud State University divisions: The American Indian Center, Office of Academic Affairs, College of Social Sciences, Learning Resources & Technology Services, the Multicultural Resource Center and the Department of History. 

The Miller Center is one of 23 libraries in the nation chosen to host the exhibit.


Darlene St. Clair, director, Multicultural Resource Center, Learning Resources & Technology Services, 320-308-6476,

Robert W. Galler, associate professor, Department of History, 320-308-4902,

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