Indiana State University Newsroom

War of 1812 lecture to be presented at Indiana State University

February 4, 2011

Indiana State University Library and the department of history will host a reception and public lecture to commemorate the War of 1812. The reception and lecture are part of the Vigo County War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee's calendar of events for 2011.

"The Other Side of the Northwest Frontier: The Native Peoples of the Great Lakes Region and the War of 1812" lecture will focus on Native American views of the conflict. It will be held in the Events Area of Indiana State University's Cunningham Memorial Library from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 12.

The reception on Feb. 11 will be held in the Native American Museum at Dobbs Park from 6 to 8 p.m. The Native American Museum is currently displaying exhibits for the War of 1812 and the Wabash Valley. The reception will feature music by David Watkins, Indiana State University professor emeritus of music.

The War of 1812 is "America's forgotten conflict," said David Nichols, associate professor of history at Indiana State University and moderator for the lecture.

"The United States lost, or at the very least it fought to a draw," he said.

The conflict cost the United States millions of dollars, but it resulted in the acquisition of a lot of Indian land, he said. The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key, was also a product of the War of 1812.

The events of the War of 1812 that occurred in Vigo County and the Great Lakes Region were significant to the westward expansion of the United States, Nichols said. The first shots of the conflict were fired in the Indiana Territory six months prior to the official start of the war.

Roger Laybourn of the United Métis Tribe, Dawn Marsh of Purdue University and Karim Tiro of Xavier University will be presenting at the lecture.

Marsh, assistant professor of history at Purdue, is co-founder of the Indigenous Earth Sciences Project and a co-chair of the Tecumseh Project. Both projects seek cross-cultural collaborations between indigenous communities and the university. Marsh specializes in indigenous North American history, from pre-contact through the 19th century with a special interest in indigenous women's history, place and identity. Her presentation is entitled "Contested Territories: Indiana's Native Americans, 1800-1812."

Tiro, associate professor of history at Xavier University, specializes in North America from the 16th through the mid-19th centuries. Tiro is interested in reconsidering the historical importance of America's less well-known wars, including the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. He recently published the book "Along the Hudson and Mohawk: The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani." Tiro has served as a consultant to the Oneida Indian Nation in their land-claim litigation, as well as to the National Parks Service and a documentary film production company working on a film about Native American history.

Laybourn, Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication for the United Métis Tribe, has interned at Indiana state historic sites in Vincennes, serving as a tour guide at the Old French House and preparing exhibits for the Old Northwest Corporation. Laybourn, from Loogootee, has served as the assistant curator at the Military Museum in Vincennes. He is currently a paid docent at Grouseland, the Indiana home of William Henry Harrison. His presentation is entitled "Territory, Treaties and Trust: Communal Land Ownership and the War of 1812."

The Friday reception and the Saturday lecture are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The events are coordinated by the Cunningham Memorial Library and the ISU Department of History.

This public lecture is funded in part by a Humanities Initiative Grant from the Indiana Humanities Council and The National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the Vigo County War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration.

The Vigo County War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee is sponsored by ARTS Illiana, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Indiana State University, the Terre Haute Native American Museum, the Vigo County Historical Society and the Vigo County Public Library.

For more information about this event or the War of 1812, visit

Contact: Cinda May, chair of Vigo County War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, at 812-237-2534 or

Writer: Lana Schrock, media relations assistant, Indiana State University, at 812-237-3773 or