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Dr. Fay Yarbrough, author of a new book that examines the complex relationships the Cherokees built with whites and African-Americans relating to tribal and racial identities, will speak Monday [FEB. 2] at East Central University.

Photo of Fay YarbroughYarbrough, assistant professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, will discuss her book, "Race and the Cherokee Nation Sovereignty in the Nineteenth Century," at 7 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Center in the University Center. The lecture is open to the public.

She also will participate in the Teaching American History grant's colloquium for 29 area junior high and high school history teachers on Feb. 3-4 along with ECU professors Scott Barton, Tom Cowger, Linda Reese, Brad Clampitt and Chris Bean. Master teachers Richard Cooper and Kevin Lynch also will facilitate sessions.

Yarbrough analyzed how Cherokee lawmakers used marriage laws to construct conceptions of race and gender in the face of President Andrew Jackson's Indian policies and how the Civil War and Reconstruction reconfigured the Cherokee legislators' thinking.

She studied marriage records, district clerk records, legal statutes, contemporary newspapers and personal papers to provide a look into the complex world of Cherokee communities, how marriage laws functioned in their everyday lives, and how Cherokee and African-American conceptions of sexuality and interracial marriage differed.

Yarbrough also is co-editing a collection of essays, tentatively titled "Gender and Sexuality in the Indigenous Americas, 1400-1850," and has begun a new study of marriage, sex, race and identity among the Choctaws, focusing primarily on the family of a white man who married a Choctaw woman and had several children with both her and a slave of African descent.

The American history teachers attending the colloquium come from 19 area schools participating in the U.S. Department of Education's three-year professional development grant, "Teaching American History: Beyond Textbooks, Beyond Lectures, Beyond Expectations."

For eight days in the summer, teachers prepare for the next school year by working on lesson plans, doing research and learning more about history content and pedagogy. They come to ECU each semester for a two-day colloquium which is led by ECU professors, visiting scholars and the Center for Advancement of American History (CAAH) staff.

During the school year, CAAH staff members, referred to as master teachers, provide support by visiting the participants' classrooms. They can teach a lesson or bring resources from the CAAH library. The library is housed at ECU and contains over 1,500 teaching resources. All teachers in the state are welcome to use the library.

Grant participants include Wes Moreland, Stonewall (lead school); Scott Simpson, Ada; Kenny Deaton and Zach Sullivan, Allen; Becky McEwin and Lynne White, Byng; Michael Arnold, Calvin; Darrell Wilhite, Cottonwood; Lary Curry, Davis; Jerad Winningham, Holdenville; Don Gallagher, Konawa; Steve Stevens and Brenda Truett, Latta; Kami Beller, Lexington; Michelle Bray and Charlotte Mapp, Madill; Chris Jones, Moss; Chad Chronister, Kevin Foster and Paul Robert McKay, Pauls Valley; Scott Morgan and Scott Roe, Roff; Pam Hammon and Kelly Parsons, Shawnee; Brandon Haigood and Darron Henson, Sulphur; Mike Hall and Dennis Lorance, Vanoss; and Angela Doss, Whitebead.

The project also provides content and pedagogy sessions twice a year to help pre-service teachers become effective teachers.

The goal is to extend and nurture a dynamic learning and teaching community in eastern Oklahoma that will become an important part of the local, regional and state resources necessary to dramatically and effectively improve the quality of American history instruction.

Partners of the grant include the Chickasaw Nation, ECU, National Archives and Records SW Region, Oklahoma Historical Society and Oklahoma State Department of Education.

ECU has been a partner on three previous TAH grants.

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