Led by author Michael Schein, this conversation explores the period from the first European-American settlement in Puget Sound to the execution of Chief Leschi, leader of the Native Americans in the Indian War of 1855-56. This is a story of extremes: great courage, cultural misunderstanding, interracial love, heroism and cruelty. The discussion will cover the trial of Leschi, and will discuss the limits of constitutional protections in the face of hysteria and fear (with marked parallels to the War on Terror). Participants will explore the causes of the war, cultural misunderstandings and the consequences of fearing a stereotyped “other.” Because there is no simple “right” answer, attendees may also begin to empathize with both sides in a long-ago struggle.
Michael Schein is the author of two historical novels, a play, an urban fantasy novel and many poems. His novels include Bones Beneath Our Feet, a historical novel set around the Puget Sound that was nominated for a Washington State Book Award, and Just Deceits, a historical courtroom mystery. Schein taught American legal history for 15 years at the University of Puget Sound and Seattle University, which is where he first became fascinated by the story of how the “Boston tribe” gained control of Puget Sound. A frequent and lively teacher of history, poetry and fiction, Schein also serves as Director of LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop. His poetry is supported by a grant from 4Culture, and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Funded project of Humanities Washington. Humanities Washington is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.