Programs to Explore Native American History

COLUMBUS, Ga. - The local community is invited to embark on a voyage of discovery spanning centuries, with films, lectures and forums discussing “what progress has preserved” since Native Americans first encountered Europeans in what’s now Columbus.

“When Cultures Collide: Dialogues with Native American History and Culture” will run Sept. 30-Oct. 30.

The series kicks off at Fort Mitchell’s Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center with an Indian taco dinner and presentations by CSU history faculty and students and other local historians.

Subsequent Tuesday and Thursday night programs at the Columbus Museum, Columbus Public Library and CSU are free and will involve more speakers and film screenings with moderators and discussions.

Sponsors are Friends of Libraries and the Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Association, with support from CSU, Columbus Public Library, Pastoral Institute, Columbus Film Society and Columbus Museum.

CSU Associate Professor of History Virginia Causey, one of the program organizers, said the focus is on the intersection of Native American and European cultures. “We’re examining issues across time and hemispheres — across North and South America,” she said. “This is not just re-telling of history, but it’s an initiative to get people to think about the issues of Native American history and why these issues matter.”

A primary issue to be covered is Columbus Day, recently designated an official holiday for City of Columbus employees.

Columbus City Councilor Julius Hunter Jr.,, as a proponent of Columbus Day, and Gary Whitedeer, who is opposed to the holiday, will present their views on the issue Oct. 21, while CSU professors give separate, related presentations (Oct. 7 and 28). Whitedeer, of Ada, Okla., is an award-winning artist and historic preservationist who has been featured on TBS's “The Native Americans.”

Overall, the series is designed to appeal to the general public and across age groups, plus both history and film buffs, said Causey.

The series also is inspired by the Red Clay, White Water, and Blues local history programs, which Causey directed in each of the two previous years. “The response to the series indicated a hunger for this kind of programming related to local history,” she said, “We’re building on this base of interest.”

For more information, call 706-565-3633, write to or go to

When Cultures Collide Calendar

• Tues., Sept. 30: Opening Event at Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center, Fort Mitchell, Ala.:
-- 6 p.m. - Indian Taco dinner ($6 adults; $4 children or bring own food) and CSU history students’ presentation comparing Western Indian and Southeastern Indian cultures, based on research from summer trip to Montana, presenters (with the students): CSU history professors Becky Matthews and Virginia Causey
-- 6:30 p.m. - ”Southern Food IS Indian Food: The Intersection Between Euro-American and Native American Foodways in the South,” presenter: Virginia Causey
-- 7 p.m. - Native plants walk and talk, led by local journalist and historian Billy Winn
-- 7:45 p.m. - “Benjamin Hawkins and Meriwether Lewis: A Comparison of Federal Indian Policy in the South and the West,” presenters: Virginia Causey and Auburn anthropology professor John Cottier

• Thurs., Oct. 2: Film: “Black Robe,” moderator: CSU history professor Becky Matthews, 6:30 p.m., Columbus Public Library, free

• Tues., Oct. 7: “Post-Columbus Encounters: The Good, the Bad and The Ugly,” presenter: CSU anthropology professor Warren Church, 6:30 pm, Columbus Public Library, free

• Thurs., Oct. 9: Film: “Smoke Signals,” presenter: CSU English professor Cathy Fussell, 6:30 p.m., Columbus Public Library, free

• Tues., Oct. 14, “Creek Removal from the Chattahoochee Valley,” presenter: author Billy Winn, 6:30 p.m., Columbus Public Library, free

• Thurs., Oct. 16: Film: “Fast Runner,” moderator: CSU Counseling Center coordinator Cheryl Yatsko, 6:30 p.m., Columbus Public Library, free

• Tues., Oct. 21: “Should We Celebrate Columbus Day?” presenter: Gary Whitedeer, CSU Thomas Y. Whitley Clock Tower, free

• Tues., Oct. 21: “Celebrating Columbus Day: Pros and Cons,” 6:30 p.m., presenters: Gary Whitedeer and Columbus City Councilor Julius Hunter, Jr., Columbus Public Library, free

• Thurs., Oct. 23: “Spanish Soldiers, English Traders, and the Formation of the Creek Confederacy,” presenter: University of West Georgia anthropology professor Thomas Foster, 6 p.m., Columbus Museum, free

• Tues., Oct. 28: “Celebrating Columbus Day: What Has Progress Preserved?” presenters: CSU English professor Noreen Lape and Pastoral Institute Director of Counselor Training Stephen Muse, 6:30 p.m., free

• Thurs., Oct. 30: Film: “Powwow Highway,” moderator: Cathy Fussell, Columbus Public Library, free