The methods by which society remembers a 19th century war that claimed nearly 90 lives in the Upper Klamath Basin will be the topic addressed in a panel discussion scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main Street in Klamath Falls.
The event’s theme is “Perspectives on the Modoc War: Why It Still Matters.”
Three historians will be asked how perceptions of the Modoc Indian War can be affected by various factors such as modern historical research practices, newly discovered facts, and shifting cultural sensitivities.
The discussion will begin at 1 p.m., and last about 90 minutes, with time for audience questions to follow. The public is invited to attend in person or watch online. Admission is free.
The panel discussion is one in a series of events being offered this year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Modoc War. Events are sponsored by the Klamath County Museum and the Lava Beds National Monument.
Numerous articles, books, and videos about the war have been produced, and one Hollywood movie released in 1954 was based largely on the war. Each new work has helped shape the public’s perception of the Modoc War, as well as larger issues for Native Americans.
“History itself cannot be changed, but our understanding of it is constantly being updated by new information and the benefit of hindsight,” said Jessica Reid, Cultural Resources Program Manager at Lava Beds National Monument. “This discussion among historians will be a timely opportunity for us to take stock of how our thinking about the war might be due for review.”
Mark Neupert, professor of humanities and social sciences at Oregon Institute of Technology, will moderate the panel discussion.
Cheewa James, a Modoc Nation tribal member and author of a book about the Modoc War, will serve as emcee for the event.
Three panelists have been invited to participate in the discussion:
Boyd Cothran, associate professor of U.S. History at York University in Toronto, Canada, and author of “Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence.”
Robert McNally, accomplished poet and author of “The Modoc War: A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of America’s Gilded Age.”
Travis Boyer, creator of “The Story Out West,” a YouTube channel dedicated to stories from America’s past.
To request an invite to watch the discussion via Zoom, send an email to [email protected].
Another upcoming installment in this year’s series of commemoration events will be “The Modoc War on Film,” featuring three videos that will be screened March 25 at the Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls.
An event being planned for April will take place at the Lava Beds National Monument, near the date in 1873 when Army General E.R.S. Canby was killed during a meeting with Modoc leader Kintpuash, also known as Captain Jack.