By Linda Ratcliffe
Michael L. Tate, who received the Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize for his book, Indians and Emigrants: Encounters on the Overland Trails
, will present a talk at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q Street in Lincoln, Neb.
James Stubbendieck, director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Great Plains Studies, said, “Tate will receive a cash award and a medallion created for the book prize and will talk about his book, which will give our audience a chance to hear about his research on overland trails.” The book prize was created to stress the interdisciplinary importance of the Great Plains in today’s publishing and educational market.
When asked to describe his book, Tate said, “Among the most ubiquitous symbols associated with America’s westward migration are the incessant Indian attacks upon intrepid pioneer wagon trains.” In pursuing the story of the overland trails, Tate found the reality of transcontinental migration was much different than public perceptions. “Between 1840 and 1860, probably fewer than 400 overlanders out of a half million were killed in Indian attacks along these heavily traveled byways,” he said. “Far more died from disease, accidental gunshot wounds and other trail mishaps than died in actual combats.”
Tate is professor of history and Native American Studies and the Charles and Mary Martin Chair of Western History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he teaches Native American history and the history of the 19th century American West. Indians and Emigrants
was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2006. Tate is also the author of The Frontier Army in the Settlement of the West
(University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), which won the Nebraska Book Award.
Tate’s lecture will lead off the 2007–08 Paul A. Olson Seminars in Great Plains Studies. It is free and open to the public, as is a reception following the talk.
Two other Olson seminars are scheduled for the fall semester (both begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Plains Art Museum and are free and open to the public):
• Oct. 17: “Global Treasures: The Origins of Plants That Sustain Life,” P. Stephen Baenziger, Eugene W. Price Distinguished Professor, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, UNL
• Nov. 14: “What Kinds of Farms and Ranches Can Survive in Urbanizing Areas? Hobby and/or Commercial? Temporary and/or lasting?” J. Dixon Esseks, visiting scholar, Center for Great Plains Studies, UNL, and emeritus professor of public administration, Northern Illinois University.
For more information, contact the Center for Great Plains Studies at 402-472-3082 or visit www.unl.edu/plains