Myth of Mound Builder race topic of Phi Alpha Theta history speaker

Phi Alpha Theta Speaker series

Myth of Mound Builder race topic of Phi Alpha Theta history speaker

Scattered across the south and central United States, earthen mound complexes are visible evidence of sophisticated Native American civilizations who lived here almost a thousand years ago. Dr. Nick Timmerman will speak about the cultural perceptions of the Indian mounds as part of the Phi Alpha Theta Speaker Series at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Prothro-Yeager 103.

During the 19th century, as pioneers headed west, archaeologists and other academics decided the mounds were not built by Native Americans but by a Mound Builder race, who were violently removed from the landscape by contemporary Native American people. They believed Native Americans did not have the intellect or architectural prowess to build the mounds. Timmerman’s talk, titled “Indian Mounds, Archaeology, and American Nationalism,” will explore that interpretation of the mounds and the influence of American nationalism on the creation of the Mound Builder myth.

His speech is a part of a larger project that examines the ideas about indigenous earthen structures in the United States from the 18th through the 20th centuries. “I use Indian mounds as a useful historic landscape feature to probe broader questions about the construction of Native American identities, memory formation, sites of knowledge production, and settler colonialism by demonstrating that the construction of North America’s ‘ancient’ or ‘pre-historic’ past is inextricable from the landscape itself.”

He is Assistant Professor of History at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. His focus is on Native American and African American history.

The event is sponsored by the Department of History and the Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and admission is free and open to the public. Phi Alpha Theta is an honor society for undergraduate and graduate students, and history professors, with more than 400,000 members nationwide. Contact Dr. Whitney Snow at 940-397-8917 for more information.