Friday June 26 – 7:00pm
THE WILD WILD EAST
(SPEAKER) – The Wild, Wild East: New York’s Drama of Westward Expansion: New York’s early frontier is America’s true “Wild West.” Civilization means Westward Expansion, but two “obstacles” block the way: Indians and Nature. Combining dramatic images and fresh research, Spiegelman details this forgotten New York, where settler dreams encounter native lifeways. We explore a “magical crossroads” where immigrants change into nomad farmers, neighbors into rivals, colonists into fighters, soldiers into settlers, land speculators into “second creators,” Indian Country into military tracts named for Roman conquerors, and untamed forests into real estate grids. We revisit Syracuse and Buffalo’s emergence from the ashes of attempted Indian removal and controversial land treaties that have shaped today’s Empire State. Then grasp Manhattan’s rise to prominence via the Erie Canal, which in turn, inflames a religious upheaval across Central New York that America calls “The Burnt Over District.” We end with an appreciation of how – against all odds – indigenous New Yorkers retain a toehold in their deforested ancestral homelands.