Chautauqua event brings history to life in Vermillion

Chautauqua event brings history to life in Vermillion by David Lias History will come alive in Vermillion during the next week, with prominent members of America's past coming to life to share lively intellectual discussions.

The city will host eight people this week in programs moderated by the energetic humanities scholar Tonia Compton of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln speaking in the character of Dolley Madison.

Five other humanities professors will interpret American voices from the period 1790-1850, when the nation's culture changed dramatically as the country expanded "From Sea to Shining Sea."

William Clark, Sacagawea, York, John Jacob Astor and Tecumseh will be speaking on five different evenings in Vermillion, Friday through Tuesday.

The event is being hosted by history professor, Steve Bucklin, and will take place in the field north of the College of Fine Arts on the campus of The University of South Dakota, just east of the W.H. Over Museum.

In case of bad weather, the DakotaDome will serve as the alternate site on July 17-18 and Slagle Hall on July 18-20.

Events include many citywide workshops on topics ranging from "Lewis and Clark Grossology" to "The Names of the Lakota: Insights and Understanding the Prairies."

The Chautauqua event will also include a variety of special period music.

All programs are free, brought by The University of South Dakota, the South Dakota Humanities Council, and numerous other community sponsors.

"Vermillion is a natural place to host this since we are located on the Lewis and Clark Trail," Bucklin said, "and we have Spirit Mound and the W.H. Over Museum."

The Chautauqua tour began June 4 in Altus, OK, and has been moving north throughout the summer, with stops in Purcell, OK, Winfield and Dodge City, KS, Beatrice and Neligh, NE, and, starting Friday, Vermillion.

The group will visit Gregory July 23-27, stop in Cavalier, ND, located near the Canadian border, July 30-Aug. 3, and conclude its tour Aug. 6-10 at Ft. Lincoln (Mandan), ND.

Jerome Kills Small will present the character of Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief and British general. Kills Small is an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He is a 1997 graduate of USD with a M.A. in selected studies. He stayed at the university to teach Lakota language. He also teaches Dakota language and American Indian cultures at the Nebraska Indian Community College at Santee, NE and South Sioux City, IA.

The chief Chautauquan, D. Jerome Tweton, presents John Jacob Astor. Tweton currently serves as senior consultant to the North Dakota Humanities Council and is professor emeritus of history from the University of North Dakota. He serves as the primary liaison between state and local coordinators and the Chautauqua group.

Presenting York, the slave of William Clark and his childhood companion � probably given to Clark by his father who was served by York's father � will be the Great Plains Chautauqua veteran Charles Everett Pace, currently teaching at Centre College in Danville, KY while he finishes his Ph.D. in anthropology from Purdue University. Pace brings more than a dozen years of experience to the Great Plains program.

The program begins on Friday with Jeffrey E. Smith as William Clark. Before joining the Great Plains Chautauqua Society with his interpretation of the wealthy philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, in 1998, Smith traveled with the Heartland Chautauqua. He teaches American history at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.

Presenting perhaps the most famous American Indian woman in the world, Selene G. Philips offers her humanities interpretation of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone woman living with the Hidatsa at the Mandan-Hidatsa villages at the confluence of the Missouri and Knife rivers in what is now North Dakota. Phillips holds a Ph.D from Purdue University in American Studies with a concentration in Native American studies, communication law and journalism. Phillips taught for a year as a visiting professor in the School of Communication at the University of North Dakota.

While in Vermillion, Dolley Madison will host William Clark on Friday night; Tecumseh on Saturday; York on Sunday; John Jacob Astor on Monday; and Sacagawea on Tuesday.

Friday evening is special, as

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is Tuesday evening. On Friday, four scholars other than Tonia Compton and Jeffrey E. Smith join Dolley Madison and William Clark and appear first in character and then as themselves at the conclusion of the dialogue between Mrs. Madison and William Clark.

On Tuesday evening, all five scholars join Compton, the Chautauqua moderator, in a short final farewell before the community joins in helping pack up the tent, chairs and equipment.

"There is a script that is developed for each character," Bucklin said, "but when they are in front of you, it doesn't seem scripted. It is very natural."

Each Chautauquan is dressed in period costume and has a deep knowledge of the person they are portraying.

"When the audience starts interacting with the characters, it's just fascinating," Bucklin said.

Schedule of Events

Friday, July 16

10:30 a.m. � Workshop (children) at the Vermillion Public Library. "Lewis and Clark Grossology" with Jeff�Smith

4 p.m. ��"Storytelling for Kids: Rip Van Winkle" with Jerome Tweton under the Chautauqua Tent.

6 p.m � Welcome from the Chautauqua Committee and Mayor Dan Christopherson

6:30 p.m. � Music by Missouri River Olde Tyme Champions.

7 p.m. � "An evening with Jeffrey E. Smith and Captain William Clark."

Saturday, July 17

9 a.m. � Breakfast with Chautauquans Jeff Smith and Tonia Compton at Hy-Vee.

10:30 a.m. � "Stories for Children of All Ages" with Jerome Kills Small under the Chautauqua Tent.

1 p.m. Workshop (adults) at the W. H. Over Museum: "General Clark's Front Porch" with Jeff Smith.

2:30 p.m. � Workshop (adults) at the W. H. Over Museum: "The Myth of Sacagawea" with Selene Phillips.

6:30 p.m. � Music by Oyate Singers.

7 p.m. � "An evening with Jerome Kills Small and Tecumseh"

Sunday, July 18

2:30 p.m. � Workshop (adults) at Spirit Mound: "The names of the Lakota: Insights and Understanding the Prairies" with Jerome Kills Small.

4:30 p.m. � "African and African American Folk tales" with Charles Pace (kids) under the Chautauqua Tent.

5:30 p.m. � Cornerstone Church Food.

6:30 p.m. � Music by Missouri River Olde Tyme Champions.

7 p.m. � "An evening with Charles Everett Pace and York."

Monday, July 19

9 a.m. � Breakfast with Chautauquans Selene Phillips and Charles Pace at the Cherry Street Grille.

10:30 a.m. � Workshop (kids) at the W. H. Over Museum: "Help Dolley Madison Plan a Party" with Tonia�Compton.

3:30 p.m. � Workshop (adult) with participants of the SDHC Teachers Workshop at USD in the I.D. Weeks Library: "John Jacob Astor versus the Historians" with Chief Chautauquan D. Jerome Tweton.

5:30 p.m. � Vermillion High School Spanish Club / St. Agnes Youth Group Food

6:30 p.m. � Music by Missouri River Olde Tyme Champions.

7:00 p.m. � "An evening with D. Jerome Tweton and John Jacob Astor"

Tuesday, July 20

9 a.m. � Breakfast with Chautauquans Jerome Kills Small and Jerome Tweton at Jones Food Center.

10:30 a.m. � Workshop (kids) at the W. H. Over Museum: "Pictures, Petroglyphs, and Pomp's Pillar" with Selene Phillips.

3 p.m. � Workshop (adult) at the Austin-Whittemore House: "Dolley Madison was no Cupcake" with�Tonia Compton.

4 p.m. � Workshop (adult) with participants of the SDHC Teachers Workshop at USD with Charles Pace on "Public Diplomacy and the Corps of Discovery" at I. D. Weeks Library.

5:30 p.m. � Trinity Lutheran Church Food.

6:30 p.m. � Music by Missouri River Olde Tyme Champions.

7 p.m. � "An evening with Selene G. Phillips and Sacagawea."

Tent take-down is after the Tuesday evening program

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