The Richmond Register

November 17, 2013

EKU’s Bowes is Tuesday’s Chautauqua speaker

Special to the Register

RICHMOND — Dr. John Bowes, associate professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, has replaced Greg Sarris as the Chautauqua speaker on Tuesday.

Bowes will speak on “The Beauty and Tragedy of Family in Native American History” at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.

His lecture, which also serves as the keynote address for National Native American Heritage Month, is free and open to the public.

“Family and familial relationships ground all history,” Bowes said. “In that respect, Native American history is no different than any other historical subject. Yet, both the idea and the reality of kinship and family relationships provide valuable avenues for the exploration and explanation of the intertwined nature of American and Native American history. Those histories, and the families that reside within, reveal both beauty and tragedy. Just as important, they reveal the humans, in all of their humanity and inhumanity, who inhabit the history we know, do not know, ignore, and take for granted.”

Prior to joining EKU in 2006, Bowes was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his doctoral degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

His research emphasis is American Indian history, and he has particularly focused on the enactment and impact of Indian removal. In 2007 Cambridge University Press published his first book, “Exiles and Pioneers: Eastern Indians in the Trans-Mississippi West,” as a part of its series, Studies in North American Indian History. Bowes has also published three books with Chelsea House Publishers, two focused on Indian removal for its Landmark Events in Native American History series and one on the Choctaw Indians for its tribal history series. He is currently finishing a book manuscript entitled “Northern Indian Removal: An Unfamiliar History,” which is under contract with the University of Oklahoma Press. In addition, his articles and essays have appeared in The Journal of Military History, Michigan Historical Review, and the Oxford Handbook of American Indian History. An article based on his current research, titled “American Indian Removal Beyond the Indian Removal Act,” will appear in the inaugural issue of Native American and Indigenous Studies in Spring 2014.

Bowes is also actively involved in Native American issues beyond the EKU campus. Since 2008 he has served by appointment of Gov. Steve Beshear as a commissioner on the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission. His past work as a research consultant for the National Museum of the American Indian will soon be part of an exhibit on treaties on site in Washington, D.C. And over the past five years he has served as an expert witness in litigation regarding 19th-century treaties and 21st-century tribal sovereignty for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Sarris said he was unable to attend due to personal obligations.

The Bowes lecture is part of the EKU’s year-long Chautauqua series entitled “Beauty Matters.”

For more details, visit or contact Chautauqua lecture coordinator Dr. Minh Nguyen at