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2024 Lecture Series: “Beyond the Mountains, the Sun: The (In)Visibility of First Peoples and the Creation of the Back Country”

March 26 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join the Frontier Culture Museum for our 2024 Lecture Series. The third installment of the 2024 Lecture Series will take place on March 26, 2024 at 7:00 PM in the Dairy Barn Lecture Hall. Our speaker for this installment is Dr. Carole Nash and her lecture is “Beyond the Mountains, the Sun: The (In)Visibility of First Peoples and the Creation of the Back Country.” The Lecture Series is free and open to the public.

Histories of the colonial settlement of the Virginia interior are remarkably silent about the communities of First Peoples whose ancestors occupied the mountains and valleys for millennia. The very notion of the ‘back country’ or ‘frontier’ that is quintessentially American may depend on their invisibility. This presentation considers both why historians omitted Native people from these histories and the continued impacts of erasure on the contemporary Indigenous communities of western Virginia. In this case, the process of reclaiming history involves archaeology, archival research, oral tradition guided by Indigenous partnerships. While the Virginia interior story is unique because of its unusual geography and location as a cultural crossroads, Indigenous erasure as a colonial practice frames the telling of Native histories in many Eastern Woodland settings. As we learn more about the complexity and interconnectedness of First Peoples’ communities here, we come to the topic with new eyes that show us a different vision of the interior.

Meet the Speaker

Carole Nash, Ph.D., RPA, is Professor in the School of Integrated Sciences, James Madison University, where she has taught for 35 years. Her research focuses on the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley, specializing in First Peoples archaeology and historical ecology. She is the author of many technical reports, scholarly papers, and publications, including co-author of Foundations of Archaeology in the Middle Atlantic. She is President of Mountain Valley Archaeology which partners with descendant communities on archaeological and historical research in western Virginia. She directs the Virginia Archaeological Certification Program, a citizen science initiative that partners professional and avocational archaeologists.


March 26
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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