Wild, Wild East: NYs Westward Expansion Lecture

New York’s early frontier was America’s first &#8220Wild West&#8221 with Westward Expansion, blocked by two &#8220obstacles&#8221: Native Americans and Nature. Combining dramatic images and fresh research, Robert Spiegelman details this forgotten New York, where settler dreams encounter native lifeways during a free lecture on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 7 pm at the Fort Montgomery Historic Site.

Spiegelman will explore a &#8220magical crossroads&#8221 where immigrants change into nomad farmers, neighbors into rivals, colonists into fighters, soldiers into settlers, land speculators into &#8220second creators,&#8221 Indian Country into military tracts named for Roman conquerors, and untamed forests into real estate grids.

Participants will revisit Syracuse and Buffalo’s emergence from the ashes of attempted Indian removal and controversial land treaties that have shaped today’s Empire State. Then grasp Manhattan’s rise to prominence via the Erie Canal, which in turn, inflames a religious upheaval across Central New York that America calls &#8220The Burnt Over District.&#8221 The lecture will end with an appreciation of how &#8211 against all odds &#8211 indigenous New Yorkers retain a toehold in their deforested ancestral homelands.

The Fort Montgomery Visitor Center is located at 690 Route 9W,1/4 mile north of the Bear Mountain Traffic Circle in Fort Montgomery, Orange County, NY 10922. For more information call (845) 446-2134.

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