Kathleen DuVal presented “Tecumseh in Arkansas” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 29, at The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. This presentation was part of the Pryor Center Presents 2019-20 lecture series.
This lecture explores how thousands of Indians, worried that the United States was going to steal their land, found hope in the Shawnee military leader Tecumseh and his brother, the prophet Tenskwatawa. The brothers built a base of support in the Ohio Valley at a new settlement they called Prophetstown. But Tecumseh knew he would need more supporters to defeat the United States. He looked west to Arkansas and its large Native nations: Quapaws and Osages and also Cherokees, Delawares, and Shawnees who had recently moved to Arkansas seeking new homes farther from the Americans. So in 1810 and 1811, Tecumseh set out to try to persuade them that Indians should put aside their differences and unite against the rising threat in the east.
DuVal, Bowman and Gordon Gray Professor in the History Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is a scholar of early American and American Indian history. Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, she studied at Stanford (B.A.) and the University of California, Davis (Ph.D.) and held an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies before joining the faculty at UNC in 2003.
DuVal is the author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (Random House, 2015), which tells the little-known story of Spanish, French, British, Chickasaw, Creek, and African American people who fought in the American Revolution in the Gulf South. She is also the author of The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006) and the co-editor of Interpreting a Continent: Voices from Colonial America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009), which she edited with her father, literary translator John DuVal.
DuVal lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband and sons.