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Consuming Indianness: Native Americans in Adirondack Tourism

Monday, July 29 at 7:30 pm

(Book-signing after the program)

Melissa Otis, PhD with special guests Jerry Pepper and Hallie Bond


Iroquoian and Algonquian peoples have occupied the Adirondacks and considered it their homeland for centuries. When Europeans, and especially Euro-Americans, entered and began to settle the area, these Iroquoian and Algonquian peoples had to adjust to their arrival. One way they adapted was by seasonally working in Adirondack industries like resource collection and tourism. This talk will focus on Iroquoian and Algonquian peoples’ labor in Adirondack tourism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While tourism often exploited and stereotyped Native peoples, in some instances they were able to take advantage of the industry for their own purposes. This talk will briefly cover their engagement in guiding, souvenir-making and selling, nineteenth-century Indian encampments, and twentieth-century tourist attractions.

Dr. Melissa OtisPresenter: Melissa Otis was born and raised in the Adirondacks in Elizabethtown, NY. She received her doctorate from the University of Toronto in 2013 and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Carleton University in Ottawa. She and her husband returned to the Adirondacks in 2017 and now live in Westport. Melissa has published several peer-reviewed articles and is the author of Rural Indigenousness: A History of Iroquoian and Algonquian Peoples of the Adirondacks, recently published by Syracuse University Press.

After the presentation, Melissa will be in conversation with Jerry Pepper, retired ADKX Library Director, and the museum’s former curator Hallie Bond.