Activities and Site Visits
The workshops will include five full days of learning (separate from arrival and departure days) making ample use of Fort Robinson National Historic Landmark as well as the surrounding region.
Participants are asked to arrive at Fort Robinson between 4-6 pm on the first date of the session. There will be an opening cookout and brief Fort orientation tour at 6:30 pm.
On the first full day at Fort Robinson, Thomas Buecker of the Nebraska State Historical Society, author of Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874-1899 (1999), will lead participants on a historic tour of the Fort. Participants will explore: the site of the Red Cloud Agency, the place where Crazy Horse was murdered, the site of the 1879 Cheyenne Outbreak and the parade grounds that hosted the drills of several generations of American soldiers. Participants also will hear from Dr. Joel Hyer of Chadron State College, author of “We Are Not Savages:” Native Americans in Southern California and the Pala Reservation, 1840-1920 (2001), on the importance of the two treaties of Fort Laramie. The day will close with a short drive to Chadron, Nebraska to allow participants to visit the Museum of the Fur Trade followed by a reception hosted by the museum staff.
On the second full day of the sessions, participants will travel by bus to Fort Laramie, Wyoming with stops at the site of the Horse Creek Treaty, Guernsey Ruts and Register Cliffs. This trip allows participants to visit the specific sites discussed in Dr. Hyer’s lecture as well as hear from National Park Service personnel currently working to learn more about the treaty negotiations at Fort Laramie through both archeological excavation and analysis of surviving photographs. Brief stops at Guernsey Ruts and Register Cliffs enable educators to see firsthand the physical evidence of the migration of American pioneers to the Oregon Territory and California.
On the third day of the workshop, educators will listen to William Gwaltney of the National Park Service discuss the role of Buffalo Soldiers in securing the expansion of the United States into the northern plains and will have the opportunity to see, through museum exhibits and artifacts, what daily life was like for these soldiers. Following a keynote address from either Joe Starita (June) or Phil Deloria (July), participants will have the opportunity to explore on their own, with time to visit nearby sites such as the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore or the Crazy Horse Memorial. The workshop will reconvene in the evening when Larry Wright, Chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, and the Nebraska State Historical Society’s John Carter, author of Eyewitness at Wounded Knee (1991), will discuss the Wounded Knee Massacre in preparation for our trip the following morning.
The fourth day of includes a bus trip to nearby Pine Ridge Reservation with stops at Red Cloud Indian School, site of a fantastic collection of contemporary Native American art, and the location of the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee. Between stops we will have a traditional Lakota lunch at the Wounded Knee Community Center and learn about local efforts to address contemporary social and economic problems by connecting traditional Lakota practices to modern life.
The final full day of activities will take place at Fort Robinson, highlighted by a second keynote address and small group activities led by master teachers and designed to make curricular connections between the workshop and the classroom. The small group sessions will be the culmination of small group activities from throughout the week, all focusing on using the workshop to impact curriculum. At a closing dinner that evening, we will celebrate our accomplishments for the week.
Participants should expect to be engaged in learning activities into the evening on days in which we travel away from the Fort. There will be a significant amount of walking involved in touring the various facilities. All facilities are handicapped accessible, with the exception of a few historic buildings at Fort Robinson and Fort Laramie.