Lecture to examine role of first interracial marriages in American West

Released on 10/25/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 4, 2013

WHERE: Nebraska Union Auditorium, 14th and R Streets

Lincoln, Neb., October 25th, 2013 —
Andy Graybill
Andy Graybill

            An award-winning western historian and former University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty member will return to UNL to give a talk on the role relationships between whites and Native Americans played in the formation of the western United States.

            Andy Graybill, director of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University, is a renowned historian of the western United States and has authored two books on the subject. Graybill's latest work, "The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West," is the basis for his presentation, which is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Nebraska Union Auditorium, 14th and R streets. The lecture is free and open to the public.

            In the book and lecture, Graybill uses the backdrop of the Marias Massacre of 1870 in what is now Montana and the Malcolm Clarke story to examine how interracial Native-white relationships were critical in the development of the trans-Mississippi West following the Civil War. Graybill, who taught at UNL from 2003 to 2011, will describe how historians have previously overlooked these relationships and their importance in forming the United States.

            Clarke was a white fur trader who settled on a Montana ranch with his Piegan Blackfeet wife. Clarke was murdered by his wife's cousin, a renegade Piegan warrior, and his murder started a spiral of events that culminated in the Marias Massacre on Jan. 23, 1870, when about 200 Piegan Blackfeet were killed. Among those attacking the tribe were the Clarke siblings themselves, taking the lives of their own blood relatives. Graybill tells the Clarke family story, which spans three generations. The story illustrates the history of native-white marriages and the effects such unions had on the subsequent mixed-blood children, who struggled in post-Civil War America because of their mixed race.

            Graybill's lecture is co-sponsored at UNL by the Department of History, the Center for Great Plains Studies, the Institute of Ethnic Studies, and the 19th-Century Studies Program.

Writer: Deann Gayman, University Communications

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