BENNINGTON — Two Mount Anthony Union Middle School teachers have been selected to attend an exclusive workshop provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Each year, NEH offers a series of week-long workshops for teachers in grades K through 12 as part of their Landmarks of American History and Culture program. MAUMS 7th and 8th grade teachers Amy Moriarty and Helen Fields will join 34 other educators in Deerfield, Mass., from July 25 to July 30 for "Living on the Edge of Empire," which will focus on the 1704 raid on Deerfield, when French and Indian forces burned part of the town, killing 47 and taking 112 captive.
Teachers selected to attend workshops under this program receive a $1,200 stipend to cover the cost of attending, and are selected after a competitive application process. "We were looking for a diverse group of educators for our program," said Lynne Manring, director of the Landmark workshops project, "We received teacher applications from all parts of the country. Participating teachers will have an enriching personal experience as they share perspectives and teaching techniques with their colleagues from around the nation."
The workshop is being hosted by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. "Teachers will find many ways to engage their own students in American history by studying the 1704 Raid on Deerfield," according to Tim Neumann, the association's executive director, "The bucolic New England town of Deerfield, Massachusetts of today was, for one brief, three-hour span in the early 18th century, the main stage of violent clashing between European colonial empires, diverse Native American nations, and personal visions and ambitions," said Neumann.
"If one were to find oneself back in time early in the morning of February 29, 1704," said Neumann, "one would be met by the flicker of flames and smell of smoke and gunpowder; one's ears would be awash in a cacophony of French, English, and Native voices mixed with battle sounds, and cries of despair and triumph. French, English, Africans, men, women, children, soldiers, ministers, farmers and traders... how did each of these people come to be here on this fateful day? What motivated their actions? How would this battle change their lives and their nations? The 1704 attack on the English colonial town of Deerfield, Massachusetts is a military saga, a family story, a case study of colonialism— a multi-cultural glimpse of early American history. The attack on Deerfield was an event rooted in cultural and religious conflicts, personal and family retribution, genocidal expansion, trade and kinship ties. The attack on Deerfield had a profound legacy which would influence the English colonies up to the opening of the American Revolution, and continues to influence America to this day."
Scholars who will speak throughout the week include Dr. Kevin Sweeney, Dr. Marge Bruchac, Dr. John Demos, and Dr. Joanne Melish, as well as members of the Old Deerfield Village Historic Landmark District museum staff. Each workshop day will include a highly distinguished scholar, central questions, readings, small group sessions, work with material resources, site visits, and classroom integration strategies. In addition to lectures and discussions with scholars, the workshop activities include field excursions to another museum of the period and to Peskeompskut, the site of a major battle in King Philip's War. Evening programs will include first person presentations, period food, music and dance.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.