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Adirondacks for All

Reframing Adirondack History

novembre 1, 2022 7:00 - 8:00
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This is a virtual event to take place on Zoom.

The history of the Adirondacks region has long privileged accounts of Euro-American settlement: taming a wild landscape and establishing a multi-generational presence across the North Country. Within the last few decades, individuals and organizations across the Adirondacks have increasingly challenged the cultural, social, and political assumptions at the foundation of these kinds of Euro-Centric narratives. With their scholarship, filmmaking, and cultural education initiatives, these three panelists have worked to re-center the experiences of underrepresented people who have acted as forces for social, political, and cultural change in the North Country and beyond. A “reframing” wide enough to reflect this diverse population must account for the First People of this region, African Americans, immigrants, but also Adirondackers without political visibility or power. “I am large, I contain multitudes,” Whitman wrote. So does the Adirondack Park.

In this roundtable discussion, Darren Bonaparte, Amy Godine, and Paul Miller will discuss opportunities to highlight the plurality of experiences that comprise the tapestry of American and Adirondack history.


 À propos des orateurs :

Amy Godine, independent scholar and longtime Adirondack Life contributor, has been writing and lecturing  about Adirondack social history since 1989. Her interest has been Black and ethnic history, migratory Adirondackers, and other non-elites whose regional experience is  unacknowledged in the historical record. Exhibitions she has written or curated on ethnic diversity in the region have appeared in the Chapman Museum, Saratoga History Museum, and Adirondack Museum. Her exhibition, “Dreaming of Timbuctoo,” the story of an abolitionist-founded Black farm settlement in North Elba, is at the John Brown Farm Historic Site in Lake Placid. Next fall Cornell University Press will bring out her book, The Black Woods, a comprehensive history of this pioneering civil rights initiative before the Civil War.


Paul A. Miller is an independent writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in upstate New York. As an experienced television professional, he worked for national shows and networks including The History Channel, National Geographic Channel, PBS, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” For years, filmmaker Paul Miller has driven past the John Brown Farm State Historic on route to family vacations.  Like many, as a young student, he had learned of abolitionist John Brown and his raid on Harpers Ferry, but he never thought about why Brown’s home is located in New York, nestled between the beautiful peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.  When Miller learned that it is connected to the establishment of a little-known and long lost antebellum African-American settlement in the mountains, he knew the story had to be told. In his feature-length documentary, “Searching For Timbuctoo,” he seeks to add some much-needed dimension to the well-known story of John Brown and his Harpers Ferry raid by revealing how a little-known Black settlement in the Adirondacks helped lay a path towards the Civil War and, as a result, changed the course of American history.


Darren Bonaparte is a cultural historian from the Akwesasne First Nation. He is a frequent lecturer at schools, universities, museums, and historical sites in the United States and Canada. Darren has written three books, several articles, and the libretto for the McGill Chamber Orchestra’s Aboriginal Visions and Voices. He currently serves as the Director of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.