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Living on the Edge of Empire: Alliance, Conflict, and Captivity in Colonial New England

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers on cross-cultural contact and conflict, set in colonial Deerfield, Massachusetts.

This workshop uses the 1704 Raid on Deerfield as an entry point for studying encounters between Native Americans, African-American slaves, and European settlers in the early colonial period. During the raid-part of a war between England and France over the Spanish crown-French and Native American forces set fire to Deerfield and slew more than fifty villagers. Workshop topics include Native American nations and alliances, European religious and political conflicts, daily life in colonial and tribal settlements, slavery, and captivity narratives. Based at the Old Deerfield Village Historic Landmark District, the project involves visits to several collections of eighteenth century artifacts, the colonial Wells-Thorn House, and the Pocumtuck children's museum, as well as the Pocumtuck Fort, where an archaeologist introduces participants to an active dig site. As part of a session on the legacy of the raid in history and memory, participants view and discuss two films, Ononko's Vow (1910) and Captive: The Story of Esther (2005). Among the readings are Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney's Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield, William Cronon's Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England; and Joanne Melish's essay "Slavery and the Slave Trade in Colonial New England." Participants also read The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America by Yale historian John Demos, who gives a talk on his research. Other visiting historians include Joanne Melish (University of Kentucky) and Kevin Sweeney (Amherst College). Margaret Bruchac, a Wobanaki Indian and anthropologist at University of Connecticut, lectures on local Indian history and lead a tour of former tribal lands. Participants spend part of each day developing lesson plans and other curricular materials under the guidance of staff historians and master teachers.

Dates: July 7–12 or July 28–August 2
Director(s): Barbara Mathews
Grantee Institutions: Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
Location: Deerfield, MA

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for School Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers. NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops provide the opportunity for K-12 educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, and to develop enhanced teaching or research materials.

Amount of Award

Teachers selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200 at the end of the residential Workshop session. Stipends are intended to help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.


These projects are designed principally for classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Other K-12 school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are eligible to participate, subject to available space.

Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.