Early settlers, Native Americans the topic of new Hingham historical series

·4 min read

HINGHAM – Always seeking a new way to look at the past, the Hingham Historical Society has come up with an innovative approach to understanding the Indigenous people who first inhabited coastal New England.

Starting Sunday, Sept. 25, the society's fifth annual lecture series will explore the history of the coast well before the arrival of English settlers in the early 1600s.

"Recent scholarship has brought a fresh perspective to the understanding of how Indigenous lives and landscapes were forever impacted by 17th-century English settlements," Deirdre Anderson, executive director of the society, said in a statement.

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The series of six lectures by "world-class faculty" will have a mixed format.

Two of the six presentations will be given in person at the Hingham Heritage Museum,  and the rest will  be held virtually. Ticket holders can view the speeches from the museum or watch the lectures via Zoom. The organizers are targeting an audience throughout New England.

Three of the scheduled speakers are members of Native American tribes.

"We've reached out to professors at universities across the country who have published deeply researched accounts about an aspect of what happened to Indigenous lives and landscapes when English colonists settled in New England," Eileen McIntyre, chair of the society's education committee and a board member, said. "The series will offer fresh insights that will be at times disturbing, often surprising, and quite enlightening." 

There will be a charge for the presentations, with ticket prices ranging from $150 to $650.

Here is the schedule for the series of presentations and viewing options. All lectures will take place at 3 p.m.

Historian Alan Shaw Taylor will kick off a new Hingham Historical Society lecture series that explores Indians, settlers and the American Revolution.
Historian Alan Shaw Taylor will kick off a new Hingham Historical Society lecture series that explores Indians, settlers and the American Revolution.
  • Sunday, Sept. 25: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and scholar Alan Taylor, of the University of Virginia, will present "Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers and the American Revolution." Taylor has written extensively about the British North American colonies and the early American republic. He has been awarded two Pulitzer Prizes. He will be speaking from Virginia. The presentation will be screened at the museum and via Zoom.

  • Sunday, Nov. 6: Robert Miller, an Eastern Shawnee who teaches at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, will give an address titled "The International Law of Colonialism and New England." Miller will explore how the European Doctrine of Discovery influenced settler colonialism in North America. He will speak remotely. The presentation will be screened at the museum and via Zoom.

  • Sunday, Dec. 4: Speaking in person in Hingham, Dr. David S. Jones, a Harvard University professor, will speak on "Epidemics, Conflict and Caregiving during the Colonization of New England." Jones will shed light on the life-threatening illnesses that plagued colonists and Indigenous people during the 17th and 18th centuries. The presentation will also be available via Zoom.

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  • Sunday, Jan. 22: Virginia D. Anderson, a retired professor of history at the University of Colorado, will present "Native Americans, English Colonists and Strange Beasts," exploring how imported European livestock contributed both to the cultural clash between Indians and English colonists and to the westward expansion of the original British colonies. She will be speaking from Colorado. The presentation will be screened at the museum and via Zoom.

  • Sunday, March 26: Jean M. O'Brien, a member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation and a history professor at the University of Minnesota, will give a lecture titled "Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence." She will be speaking from Minnesota. The presentation will be screened at the museum and via Zoom.

She will cover how 19th-century community leaders and historians "zealously positioned New England as the cradle of an Anglo-Saxon American culture and made the baseless claim that the area’s Indigenous inhabitants had become extinct." Such “erasure” would be used to refute Indian claims to their land and their rights.

  • Sunday, April 23: Speaking in person in Hingham, Lisa Brooks, a member of the Abinaki Nation and a professor at Amherst College, will address "A New History of King Philip’s War." Her talk will cover the complexity of war, captivity and Native resistance during what became known as King Philip’s War. The presentation will also be available via Zoom.

For tickets and more information, visit hinghamhistorical.org.

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This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Hingham series explores how early settlers affected Indigenous people