LINCOLN, Neb. – Fort Atkinson State Historical Park will celebrate its bicentennial with a special living history event Aug. 3-4.
The event, which will emphasize the relationship between Native Americans and Fort Atkinson’s military, includes special speakers and a traveling Smithsonian exhibit.
The exhibit, “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces,” tells the story of the American Indian and Alaska Native men and women who served in the United States military. Native peoples have participated in every major U.S. military encounter since the Revolutionary War.
The 16-panel exhibit includes art, photography and essays, and provides a fascinating look at the richness of Native Americans’ involvement in military conflicts, said Fort Atkinson curator Susan Juza.
The park’s special guests, who will provide historical interpretation along with Fort Atkinson’s living history interpreters, include:
• Eagle T. Knife Chief, the great-grandson of the Skiri Pawnee leader Man Chief, who signed the Treaty of Friendship at Fort Atkinson in 1825. Man Chief also received a hero medallion from President James Monroe in the winter of 1821-1822.
• Don Borcherding, a licensed professional engineer and surveyor in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, who has researched surveying history for more than 40 years and gives frequent presentations as the historical figure of Captain Andrew Talcott, of the Corps of Engineers.
• Lewis and Clark Fife and Drum Corps of St. Charles, Missouri, whose purpose is to promote greater understanding of the historical significance of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
• Steve Tamayo, museum advisor, cultural specialist and adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, who will present Native American dancing.
Presentations are free to attend, though visitors will need a park entry permit to enter the park. The Smithsonian exhibit is located in the visitor center, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for youth ages 13 and under.
“Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” was produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibition was made possible by the support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park is located seven blocks east of U.S. Highway 75 near Fort Calhoun. For more information, contact the park at 402-468-5611 or visit OutdoorNebraska.org.