Duane Olson to speak at annual literary luncheon

Duane Olson to speak at annual literary luncheon The Journals of Lewis and Clark will provide grist for the literary mill when Duane R. "Ole" Olson speaks at the 11th annual Literary Luncheon sponsored by the Friends of the Vermillion Public Library on Thursday, April 20, in the Community Room of the library.

Seating for the luncheon will begin at 11:15 a.m. with the program following at approximately 12:10 p.m. Cut-off date for the purchase of tickets (at $6.50 per person) is Sunday, April 16, at the library. Phone the library at 677-7060 for reservations.

Olson, a historian from Elk Point, will portray Pierre Dorion, a civilian contractor hired by Lewis and Clark as a local guide and translator for the Corps of Discovery. Dressed in appropriate garb, he will demonstrate and exhibit the tools and firearms used on the journey.

A 55-year-old Frenchman, Dorion was taking furs down to St. Louis when he was hired by Lewis and Clark on June 12, 1804. The explorers learned that Dorion had a Yankton Sioux wife and spoke her language fluently, as well as French and English. They hoped he would be useful in persuading some Sioux chiefs to go to Washington to meet with their new "White Father." They also foresaw his usefulness in providing a friendly introduction to the largest tribe on the Missouri. This came to pass three months later when, on Aug. 27, the company met the first members of the Yanktons at the mouth of the James River.

The Friends of the Library are proud to contribute to the current interest in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, especially as the story enhances a knowledge of local history. Members say they are happy to present Olson in the guise of Pierre Dorion at this year's Literary Luncheon.

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