Lecture series presented by Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of person excavating dirt at an archaeological site.

A staff member works at the Fort St. Joseph archaeological site.

KALAMAZOO—A series of four lectures presented by the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project unfolds July 17-Aug. 7 in Niles, Mich., exploring America's rich colonial past, its fur trade, military campaigns and the historic French fort in Niles. The lecture series is presented by the Niles District Library and the Western Michigan University Department of Anthropology. The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project is a partnership with WMU, the city of Niles, the Fort St. Joseph Museum, Support the Fort Inc. and other community groups seeking to unlock the secrets of this long lost, but not forgotten, frontier outpost of New France.

The fifth annual Summer Archaeology Lecture Series runs on successive Wednesdays beginning July 17. The first three lectures are at Niles District Library, 620 E. Main St., while the fourth is at the Niles Senior Center, 1109 Bell Road. All lectures begin at 7 p.m., and light refreshments will be provided.

Summer Archaeology Lecture Series

  • July 17: In a presentation titled "Beyond Pontiac's Shadow: A Fresh Look at the War Called Pontiac's," Dr. Keith Widder will discuss how early alliances between the British and Indians prevented an attack from becoming more violent against the British at Michilimackinac in 1763 as well as events of the Potawatomi capture at Fort St. Joseph eight days prior to the attack on Michilimackinac.
  • July 24: The event, titled "Militia Muster at Fort St. Joseph," will feature Dr. Michael Nassaney, WMU professor of anthropology, and Bob Myers, curator of the Berrien Springs History Center. They will discuss how Fort St. Joseph, an 18th century French trading post near Niles and now the site of an ongoing archaeological investigation, witnessed a militia muster on the eve of the American Revolution in 1775. Living history re-enactors will interpret this activity.
  • July 31: Dr. Ben Secunda, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act project manager at the University of Michigan, will discuss the southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana Native Americans' resistance to the government's attempt to remove them to the west and the historical and archaeological evidence related to it. The event is titled "The Other Kitchen Debate: Changing Foodways Among the Michiana Potawatomi in the Early 1800s."
  • Aug. 7: Joe Hearns, WMU anthropology graduate student, will examine the processing of animals for purposes beyond food production and consumption, particularly at Fort St. Joseph, and how the patterns of animal remains can be used to understand the Fort St. Joseph site. His presentation is titled "Beyond Foodways: Additional Uses of Animals in the Great Lakes Fur Trade."

For more information, visit wmich.edu/fortstjoseph.