- Illinois State Museum, Springfield
Spend an hour with two of the most pivotal and dynamic personalities in Illinois History as portrayed by Brian “Fox” Ellis.
Two hundred years ago, as the original thirteen colonies were bursting at the seams, as early pioneers came flooding over the Alleghenies, and the tribes of the east were being pushed to the west, as Illinois was struggling to become a state, there were a series of events that few folks even know about, let alone realize how pivotal these events were in forever shaping our state history and influencing our nation’s relations with Native Americans. From the War of 1812 to the burning of the French Village of Peoria and the Fort Dearborn Massacre in Chicago, this program will challenge the audience to reconsider what they think they know about Illinois’ story. First they will meet Illinois’ Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards as he speaks on his role in The War of 1812, the creation of our state constitution, and the Cahokia Council with the Indians. While Fox changes into traditional regalia, the host will lead a brief conversation to help the audience more deeply consider Governor Edward’s stories. Then they will meet Pottawatomie Chief Gomo and listen as he shares his side of the story in the rescue of the French women and children of Peoria, his relationships with the other principal chiefs of this region, including Black Hawk, and Tecumseh, The Prophet, his relationship to the Fort Dearborn Massacre, and his speech responding to the Governor. The host will then mediate a debate as the audience makes an effort to make sense of these divergent perspectives. Much of the text for this program will be taken directly from the speeches these two men delivered to each other as they squared off to determine the future of this region. Storyteller, Brian “Fox” Ellis steps into each of their shoes to bring to life a controversial story in this vital moment in the birthing of Illinois. This program explores American History unvarnished and promises to inspire a lively discussion!