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March 7, 2016

Native American and Local Perspectives Featured at Annual Symposium


OSWEGO - The life and times of legendary Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, territorial claims and disputes in the Lake Ontario region, and Oswego's involvement in the events leading up to the War of 1812 are among the topics presented at the sixth annual Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium scheduled for Friday, April 1 to Sunday, April 3.

The conference begins with a student presentation contest at 6 p.m. on Friday, continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and wraps up from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26. E. First St., Oswego.

"This year, we welcome the return of Sandy Antal and the first appearance of SUNY Oswego's Dr. Richard Weyhing to the symposium stage," said Fort Ontario State Historic Site Superintendent Paul Lear, chairman of the Oswego International War of 1812 Symposium Committee. "The audience will enjoy their presentations which include an analysis of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh and his confederacy as well as a fresh perspective on the role of Oswego in the progression of war, which ties in with our theme to highlight the bicentennial of Oswego County this year."

Award-winning author and retired Canadian Army Maj. Sandy Antal will share his presentation, "Tecumseh: The Myths, The Facts," which chronicles the story of one of the most prominent and enigmatic figures to emerge from the War of 1812. Antal's research into the life of this influential warrior and spokesman spanned three decades. His discussion will examine the mythology and truth surrounding the tribal leader and reveal his legacy as an iconic folk hero.

Antal served 20 years in the Canadian Army before retiring to focus on teaching, research and writing. His first work, "A Wampum Denied: Procter's War of 1812," known as the first comprehensive account of Anglo-Native operations on the Detroit River, was honored as the "Choice Award" by the American Library Association. He has presented all over the world and appeared in several historical documentaries.

Dr. Richard Weyhing, assistant professor of history at State University of New York at Oswego, presents, "Before 1812: The Establishment of Fort Oswego and the 'Sixty Year's War' for North America," which examines David Curtis Skaggs' idea of a "Sixty Years' War" that waged for control of North American between 1754 and 1814.

This discussion highlights the important role that Oswego played in the conflicts preceding the War of 1812 and the territorial claims made by Britain and France along the Lake Ontario region which led to them. It includes the re-telling of an event in the summer of 1756 that destroyed the outpost, its fortifications and saw 1,500 people taken as prisoners of war; the result of which radically altered the political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dr. Weyhing's academics include a variety of early American history topics. His previous work has focused on attempts by the French to build alliances with the native peoples of the Great Lakes region during the Anglo-French colonial wars of the 17th and 18th centuries. Currently, he is researching Oswego's role in these conflicts utilizing both Canadian and American archives. He received his bachelor's degree in European History from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in Atlantic History at the University of Chicago.

Registration for the three-day event is $50 per person or $35 for students with a valid ID. The registration fee includes Saturday's lunch, refreshment breaks on Saturday and Sunday and workshop materials. One-day registration is also available: $35 for Saturday, including lunch or $25 for Sunday. For students with a valid ID, one day rates are $20 for Saturday, including lunch or $15 for Sunday.

Advance registration is required and may be paid by check or credit card through the Friends of Fort Ontario. Contact Paul Lear at 315-343-4711 for credit card payments Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Checks should be made payable to "Friends of Fort Ontario - 1812" and mailed to the Fort Ontario State Historic Site, 1 East Fourth Street, Oswego, N.Y. 13126.

Special room rates for symposium attendees are available at the Best Western Plus Captain's Quarters Hotel, 26 E. First St., Oswego. Please call the hotel at 315-342-4040 and mention the Oswego War of 1812 Symposium.

This year's symposium is sponsored by the Friends of Fort Ontario, Sackets Harbor Battlefield Alliance, Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council, The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, New York State Archives Partnership Trust, Pathfinder Bank, Ensign Heritage Group, SUNY Oswego, The Palladium-Times, Man in the Moon Candies, Oswego County Today, Oswego Elks Lodge #271, City of Oswego, and the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

For a complete schedule or to register online, go to www.oswego1812.org. For more visitor information, go towww.visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322.

SPOTLIGHT ON LOCAL HISTORY AT SYMPOSIUM - Early image of Fort Oswego authored by Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry, Royal Chief Engineer in New France, and dated "done in camp before Chouaguen [Oswego], July 14th, 1729." Image courtesy of French National Archives..

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