Jean M. O’Brien will deliver the inaugural Wilbert H. Ahern Distinguished Lecture in American Indian Studies on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. O’Brien is White Earth Ojibwe and a professor of history at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she is also affiliated with the American Indian Studies and American Studies Departments. Her lecture is based on her latest book and is entitled, “Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England.”
O’Brien will argue that early colonial histories became a primary means by which Anglo-Saxon Americans asserted their own modernity while denying it to Indian peoples. Drawing on more than six hundred local histories from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, the lecture will explore how these narratives advanced the myth of Indian extinction, a myth that has stubbornly remained in the American consciousness.
Additionally, special guest Jill Doerfler ’01, assistant professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, will share her experiences as a former Morris student. In 2009, Doerfler became the first Morris graduate to deliver the prestigious O. Truman Driggs Distinguished Lecture. Both she and O’Brien will be available for book signing following the evening lecture.