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The Early Republic and Indian Country: 1812-1833

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“The Early Republic and Indian Country, 1812-1833” is a four-week school teacher institute for twenty-five participants on the interactions between Native Americans and European Americans in the early nineteenth century. From the end of the American Revolution to the 1830s, the region between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River was the site of interactions between white settlers and Native Americans and of conflicts over land, power, and governance that erupted during the War of 1812. The institute brings recent scholarship to bear on this period, supplemented by maps and documents from the excellent collections at the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies. The center’s director, Scott Stevens, and Frank Valadez of the Chicago Metro History Education Center direct the institute, with Ann Durkin Keating of North Central College as lead scholar. Participants first explore the reactions of Native groups to incursions by the French, British, and Americans from the late 1700s through 1810, and readings are drawn from Daniel Richter’s Facing East from Indian Country and Richard White’s The Middle Ground. They then consider ways that Indian groups incorporated Euro-American trade and culture into their societies, led by Susan Sleeper-Smith of Michigan State University. Readings for this second week include selections from Sleeper-Smith’s Indian Women and French Men, Theda Perdue’s “Native Women in the Early Republic,” and Richard White’s “The Fiction of Patriarchy: Indians and Whites in the Early Republic.” In the third week, participants focus on Native resistance and the War of 1812 with R. David Edmunds of the University of Texas at Dallas, reading excerpts from Edmunds’s Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership and Joel Martin’s Sacred Revolt. Finally, John Hall of the University of Wisconsin leads an examination of Indian removal after the War of 1812, with readings from Hall’s Uncommon Defense and Kerry Trask’s Black Hawk. Primary source materials include items such as an 1836 “Map of the Sites of Indian Tribes of North America,” letters of U.S. Indian agents, and the records of fur traders, which will bring the past to life. The group also visits the Field Museum, the Mitchell Museum, and the Chicago History Museum.

Dates: July 16—August 10 (4 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: The Newberry Library
Location: Chicago, IL

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. An NEH Summer Seminar for school teachers enables sixteen participants to explore a topic or set of readings with an expert scholar. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.