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Several historians and students from East Central University will participate in the 47th annual conference of the Western History Association Wednesday through Saturday [OCT. 3-6] in Oklahoma City.

ECU is one of the sponsors of the conference.

The WHA, which promotes the study of the North American West, is meeting in Oklahoma this year to celebrate the state's centennial. The theme of the conference is Crossroads of the West: Meetings and Exchanges, Old and New.

Dr. Linda Reese, chair of ECU's history department, served on the WHA Local Arrangements Committee that organized tours for convention participants to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Fort Sill Military Reservation and Indian Sacred Sites, Oklahoma City's oil and gas fields and the territorial capital of Guthrie. A tour of history-related museums and centers at the University of Oklahoma also is available.

Reese will be part of the opening session panel Wednesday on Native Women's History in Oklahoma.

Students in ECU's Oklahoma in Crisis class will attend the conference which offers the opportunity to meet established authors, professors and recognized experts in western history and hear presentations on topics from railroads and oil to politics and popular culture.

Dr. Ken Hada, ECU associate professor of English and languages, and Richard Cooper and Kevin Lynch, master teachers in the Teaching American History program, will present papers during a session on historical fiction, “Reading and Teaching Diane Glancy's 'Pushing the Bear.'"

Dr. Davis Joyce, ECU professor emeritus of history, will chair a session on "The New Oklahoma History" that includes papers from ECU graduate Amanda Strunk Frady.

The conference's opening reception will be held at the Oklahoma History Center. Other sessions will be at the Cox Convention Center and Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel. The banquet address will be made Friday by WHA president R. David Edmunds. He will discuss "Blazing New Trails or Burning Bridges? Native American History Comes of Age."

Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, also will speak at the conference.

Awards will be presented for the best papers and books published the previous year. A book display will offer books by faculty members from different universities.

The WHA was formed in 1961 by a small group of history buffs and academic historians to promote the study of the North American West. It has grown into an organization with hundreds of members and publishes prestigious articles on the West in its journal Western Historical Quarterly.

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