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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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2/25/2005 Two perspectives of Oregon Trail focus of Linfield talk

McMINNVILLE – A Linfield College faculty member will offer a glimpse of the Oregon Trail from the Native American perspective during an upcoming faculty lecture.

Jackson Miller, assistant professor of communication arts, will present "Coyote’s Tale on the Old Oregon Trail: Challenging Cultural Memory through Narrative at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute" on Wednesday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall.

Miller’s talk will focus on the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, the only Indian-run, Indian-owned interpretative center along the entire length of the old Oregon Trail. Tamástslikt is operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, a group consisting of individuals from the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes. The center documents and preserves traditions and practices that distinguish the Confederated Tribes from any other peoples.

Miller became interested in Oregon Trail history while teaching at Eastern Oregon University in close proximity to the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute and the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City.

"From a scholarly perspective, I was amazed at the contrasting stories of the two centers," he said. "They offer different perspectives of the same event."

With the celebration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Miller said it’s a good time to think about the stories of exploration that have been left out.

"Narratives from other perspectives are often lost or distorted," Miller added. "While the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the ‘conquering of the West’ is, for many, an affirmation of the pioneer spirit that makes America strong, the stories, traditions and ways of life of the many Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest were lost in the wake of the wave of immigrants who followed in Lewis and Clark’s footsteps."

Miller holds a bachelor’s and master’s from Ohio University and a doctorate from Southern Illinois University. His scholarly interests include performance of culture and the rhetoric of resistance and protest.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.