Vail Symposium reexamines the Battle of Wounded Knee with virtual program Monday |

Vail Symposium reexamines the Battle of Wounded Knee with virtual program Monday

Little Big Mouth, a medicine man, seated in front of his lodge near Fort Sill, Oklahoma, with medicine bag visible from behind the tent. This photograph was taken between 1869-70. National archives identifier: 518908.
William S. Soule | Special to the Daily

For decades, the fight for the American West has fascinated writers and readers alike. The mystery of Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s death, the lives of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and the catastrophe at Wounded Knee have been too powerful to resist.

Yet it turns out that the United States Army’s unpublished manuscript correspondence — hidden away in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. — radically changes how we think about the era. On Monday, Sept. 28, Vail Symposium welcomes Texas Tech’s Dr. Catharine Franklin for an online Zoom discussion of the battle. 

“History is often as much about the present as it is the past,” according to Claire Noble, Vail Symposium program manager. “By default, it is oftentimes the dominant majority that dictates the interpretation and communication of historical events. Dr. Franklin’s work bypasses interpretations and goes directly to source documents.”

This lecture will explore the misguided notion of those so-called Indian Wars, the forgotten peers of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and why Custer still looms large in popular memory.

This Zoom Webinar is free, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance. Vail Symposium has produced more than 20 virtual programs since the public health order restricted events; the organization plans to continue offering virtual programs until it is safe to gather together again.

About the speaker

Catharine R. Franklin specializes in the history of the 19th century United States Army with an emphasis on indigenous peoples and the American West in the post-Civil War era. Her research and teaching interests lie in 19th century American history, military history, indigenous history and the history of the American West and borderlands.

Her book manuscript, “The Army Stands Between: Soldiers and Indians in the West,” upends the story of the so-called “Indian Wars.” Federal authority, indigenous resistance and borderlands and transnational themes inform her work. Dr. Franklin has written award-winning journal articles for Montana: The Magazine of Western History and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.

A native New Yorker, Dr. Franklin earned a B.A. in English Literature and American Studies from The City College of New York, and the M.A. and Ph.D. in History at the University of Oklahoma.

If you go …

What: Much Ado About Custer: Rethinking the “Indian Wars”

When: Monday, Sept. 28, 6-7 p.m.

Where: Zoom webinar

More information: Attending is free. Please register at for more information.

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