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Symposium to Focus on ‘Encounters’

June 14, 2004

  • N. Scott Momaday
    N. Scott Momaday

Many historians have come to understand the Lewis and Clark Expedition not as a linear excursion across space but as a series of encounters that frame rich and unprecedented experiences. Although Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off with every confidence in their culture and traditions, they soon faced dramatic new stimuli that forced them to move beyond their social, cultural, and intellectual boundaries.


It is these encounters—with native peoples, the limits of language, varied landscapes, and their own identities—that will shape the College’s fall symposium by the same name.Encounters will be held at Lewis & Clark on October 1 and 2, which coincides with Homecoming and Alumni Weekend. It is the second in a series of symposia offered by the College each year during the commemoration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


In addition, the College will mount a related art exhibition focusing on American Indian themes in the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art. The exhibition will be on display from September 2 through October 18.


Featured Speakers

N. Scott Momaday will deliver the symposium’s keynote address at the First Baptist Church in downtown Portland at 8 p.m. on September 30. Momaday is a Pulitzer prize–winning novelist, poet, playwright, painter, and storyteller. He is currently Regents Professor of the Humanities at the University of Arizona. He is a Kiowa Indian and is interested in Native American art and oral tradition.


Momaday’s writings include House Made of Dawn, The Way to Rainy Mountain, The Ancient Child, In the Presence of the Sun,and Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story. His articles have appeared in Natural History, American West, The New York Review of Books, New York Newsday, the New York Times, and other periodicals.


Other featured speakers include Thomas Jones, former astronaut and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to NASA;Patricia Seed, professor of history at Rice University and author of American Pentimento; Roberta Conner, director of the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute and cochair of the Circle of Tribal Advisors to the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial; and Victoria Murden, the first woman to row across the Atlantic.


A number of College faculty members will participate as well, including Stephen Dow Beckham, Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Professor of History, and Clay Jenkinson, humanities scholar in residence.


Traveling Exhibition Heads North

The College’s traveling exhibition, The Literature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is on the road throughout the United States. It will be on display at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, North Dakota, from August 2 through November 7. The bicentennial staff is researching possible venues for the next showing in Minnesota.


The exhibition features up to 60 items in 11 display cases and a number of framed wall pieces with items drawn from the College’s unmatched library of expedition-related literature acquired over the past 20 years. Stephen Dow Beckham, Pamplin Professor of History, is the exhibition’s curator.


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