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The Frederick Lee Lectures

Now in their fifteenth year, the Frederick Lee Lectures are a series of three monthly history presentations that attract hundreds of lifetime learners each winter. Recent themes have focused on local shipbuilding and immigration, notable Madison women, the growth of the local summer community, and Madison's historic homes and farms. In 2022 the lectures will be presented virtually via Zoom and will focus on Connecticut's Indigenous Peoples.

The Society is grateful for the support the Lectures receive from the community. The Madison Foundation has provided a generous financial gift to fund the Lectures. We also thank the Town of Madison for offering us the use of Memorial Town Hall in the early years of this program and the First Congregational Church for the use of Hubley Hall. The MHS remains delighted to be part of a town that values history and supports local civic organizations.

The 2022 Lectures will be presented via Zoom. 

2022 Lectures
Connecticut's Indigenous Peoples

January 16
4 pm
Connecticut's Indigenous Peoples: What Archeology, History, and Oral Traditions Teach Us About Their Communities and Cultures
Presenter: Dr. Lucianne Lavin
Dr. Lucianne Lavin, director of research and collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies, will launch the series with an examination of the history and cultures of Connecticut’s first peoples. She will trace 10,000 years of native American history,  beginning when Native Americans shared the land with mastodons. Lavin will discuss archaeological discoveries that have challenged old theories and reshaped traditional interpretations of tribal people. Her informative presentation will lay the groundwork for the series and explain how indigenous peoples have thrived due to strong tribal leadership and enduring socio-spiritual traditions.

Click HERE to watch the recording of Dr. Lavin's presentation.

January 30
4 pm
The Quinnipiac: The First People of the Shoreline
Presenter: James Powers

Historian, archaeologist, author, and teacher James Powers will share the story of the Quinnipiac people and the catastrophic and transformative events that followed their first contact with Europeans. Within two years of British colonization, this local Indigenous tribe, which includes the Hammonassets, faced a devastating epidemic followed by war, ecological collapse, and economic ruin that threatened their way of life. His presentation will attempt to answer the question, “How does a culture survive in the face of relentless and devastating cultural disintegration resulting in marginalization and even genocide?” The story of the Quinnipiac experience is also told at the Quinnipiac Dawnland Museum at the Dudley Farm Museum in Guilford, where Powers serves on the board of directors and is a founding member.  

Click HERE to watch the recording of Jim Powers' presentation.

February 20
4 pm
Coloring Nehantic
Presenter: Dr. John Pfeiffer

Retired state archaeologist Dr. John Pfeiffer will present his program entitled, “Coloring Nehantic” in February. His presentation will trace the history of the Nehantic People from their earliest days as a thriving group of villages spanning the Connecticut and Rhode Island coastlines to being declared “extinct” in the 1870s when their reservation was sold. As the official historian for the Nehantic Nation, Pfeiffer has dedicated his life to understanding the group’s cultural identity and unique history. His research identified Nehantic descendants living across the country and led to their reforming and reclaiming their history. Pfeiffer will tell how the Nehantics thrived despite significant challenges and how their adaptability has been their key to survival.

Click HERE to watch the recording of Dr. Pfeiffer's presentation.

March 13
4 pm
Increasing Understanding of the Pequot People’s History and Culture
Presenter: Nakai Clearwater Northrup

Nakai Clearwater Northrup, a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, will conclude the series with his presentation on indigenous and environmental activism and the preservation of Native American history. As an educator at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Northrup works to increase understanding of his People’s culture and promotes stewardship of land in line with their traditional lifeways. Northrup is an empowering voice for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council and Native Americans throughout the country. His talk will also focus on the importance of historic preservation in Indian Country, food sovereignty, and teaching traditional Eastern Woodland histories and lifeways.

Important Visitor Information

Suggested Admission: $5 adults; $4 MHS members
Note: The 2022 Lectures will be held on Zoom.

All programs are recommended for adults and children 10 and older.

Note: In the event of inclement weather, each program will be delayed until the immediately following Sunday.

For more information, call 203.245.4567

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