Olson Seminar Nov. 14 is on northern Cheyenne exodus

James N. Leiker (left) and Ramon Powers (photo courtesy of Rod Haxton, The Scott County Record, Oct. 6, 2011)
James N. Leiker (left) and Ramon Powers (photo courtesy of Rod Haxton, The Scott County Record, Oct. 6, 2011)

"The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory" is the title of the Nov. 14 Olson Seminar. It is also the title of the book by speakers James N. Leiker and Ramon Powers, winner of this year's Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize from the Center for Great Plains Studies.

The talk, the presentation of the book prize award, and a reception will be at 3:30 p.m. at the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St. The authors will sign copies of their book following their talk.

The story of the Northern Cheyenne's flight from Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma to their Montana homeland in 1878-79 has been told, retold and relived by generations of historians, reformers, reenactors, literary figures like Mari Sandoz, filmmakers like John Ford, as well as white homesteaders and Northern Cheyenne descendants. In assessing these retellings, the authors explore the relationship of history with memory, the stories that people of the Great Plains have used for cultural self-definition, and through them, their connection to a mythic western past.

"The descendants of the Cheyenne and the settlers they encountered are all westerners who need history as a way of explaining the bones and arrowheads that littered the plains," wrote Leiker and Powers.

Leiker is associate professor of history at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan. He is also the author of "Racial Borders: Black Soldiers along the Rio Grande." Powers is formerly executive director of the Kansas State Historical Society.

"The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History in Memory" was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2011.
For more information or accommodation, contact the center at 402-472-3082 or visit http://www.unl.edu/plains.

- Linda Ratcliffe