History Program with a Distinguished Native American Scholar

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The Phelps-Hatheway House and Garden had many famous residents who impacted our local history landscape, yet Oliver Phelps’s residency had local and national ramifications. While Phelps employed three famous local carpenters and renowned architect Asher Benjamin to remodel the 18th century house in 1794, this history program will explain why sixteen hundred Iroquois Indians, members of the Haudenosaunee, gathered during the fall of 1794 in Oliver Phelps’s second town of Canandaigua, New York. Attend the program in person or connect via Zoom to find out why the Treaty of Canandaigua showcases the cultural differences among the citizens in our young Republic and the Indigenous Peoples who made up the Six Nations. The hybrid program starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 9 at the Kent Memorial Library. If you cannot make it in person, click on this Zoom link: https://tinyurl.com/4b6vk5jt.

Michael Leroy Oberg, internationally renowned author and scholar in Native American studies, will share key elements from one of his seven books, Peacemakers. You will learn why the 1783 Treaty of Paris did not result in lasting peace in North America, especially in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State where Oliver Phelps was operating as a land speculator. Nevertheless, learn why the Treaty of Canandaigua played a central role in George Washington’s foreign policy as well as why it offered an opportunity of agency for the Iroquois who in 1794 “possessed enough power still to influence the shape of the proceeding.” Did you know that the Haudenosaunee still commemorate the treaty with a live event that serves to “polish the chain of peace and friendship” between the Six Nations Confederacy and the young United States?

Distinguished Professor of History at SUNY-Geneseo, Michael Leroy Oberg received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003 and a Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 2013. This community program is free to the public and supported by the Suffield Greater Together Community Fund, which was created by the Hartford Foundation and Public Giving in 2019 as part of a larger initiative for each of the 29 towns in its region.

Bill Sullivan’s American Studies class at Suffield Academy is facilitating this program. Email Bill Sullivan with any questions: bsullvan@suffieldacademy.org.

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