Tesoro’s 2017 Historic Lecture Series (Cont.)

Each year, our historic lecture series features the finest humanities scholars, historians and authors in the field of Western American history. The lecture series cultivates a new appreciation for diverse cultures that shaped our current landscape. From Apache wars to The Fort’s own ghost stories, 19th century American Western history comes alive through each lecture.

Dinner lectures at The Fort Restaurant include a special prix fixe menu, featuring The Fort’s famous salad, award winning guacamole, entrée and dessert*. All proceeds from the dinner lectures are donated to Tesoro Cultural Center’s educational and cultural programs.

*Menus are subject to change. Vegetarian options are available. Check website for the most up-to-date menu.

 

Eyewitness to the Fetterman Fight: Indian Views 

Tensions between the U.S. government and American Indians started to rise in 1863, as a result of the Bozeman Trail – a new route for emigrants traveling to the Montana gold fields that passed directly through hunting grounds of American Indian territory. In an effort to protect these emigrants, the U.S. government built forts along the trail; the largest of these being Fort Phil Kearney, in north-central Wyoming.

On December 21, 1866, a group of more than 2,000 American Indians banded together to lure the U.S. army into a deadly ambush, which would later be known as the Fettermen Fight. The American Indians annihilated all 81 soldiers under Captain William Fettermen, the captain himself included. With no survivors on the U.S. side, the only eyewitness accounts of the battle came from those fighting on behalf of the Lakota and Cheyenne.

John H. Monnett, an award-winning author and professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver, will join us to lecture on the crushing victory as told by the American Indians, while focusing on his book, Eyewitness to the Fetterman Fight: Indian Views.

When: Saturday, January 6 at 4 p.m.
Where: The Lone Tree Hub

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, January 7 at 2 p.m.
Where: Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, January 7 at 6 p.m.
Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Buffalo BBQ ribs served with cheddar mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables

— Fourth course —

Negrita chocolate dessert

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

 

Plains Indian Trade

 Fort Jackson is a relatively mysterious trading post, as its exact location is unknown and many details of the fort have been lost. It is believed to have been several miles south of the present-day Platteville, Colo. The valley of the South Platte River would have made this location an ideal trading post, as it’s located in the middle of Fort Laramie and Bent’s Old Fort and had an abundance of food resources that drew large populations of American Indians to the area.

On December 2, 1837, a trading party under James C. Robertson left Fort Jackson and set out to trade along the Arkansas River. Outfitting trading parties to travel directly to American Indian hunting camps and villages wasn’t uncommon at the time, and it’s likely that the purpose of this party was to trade with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians, as they favored this location during the winter. While many of Robertson’s trading party details are unknown, the inventory of trade goods with costs have been preserved.

Michael Shaubs will join us for a lecture to discuss typical trading protocols, distribution of goods and what Robertson’s trading party tells us about the American Indian as a consumer.

When: Saturday, January 20 at 4 p.m.
Where: Buck Recreation Center

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, January 21 at 2 p.m.
Where: Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, January 21 at 6 p.m.
Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Buffalo tenderloin steak and grilled teriyaki quail served with The Fort’s famous potatoes and seasonal vegetables

— Fourth course —

Bobbie Chaim’s famous cheesecake served with Montana huckleberries

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

 

George Bent: Man of Many Worlds

 George Bent, a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War, was born to a prominent white trader, William Bent, and his Cheyenne wife, Owl-Women. Because of his mixed-race, he was referred to as a “half-breed” member of society and was often an outsider to both the Cheyenne and European-American cultures he was a part of. Nonetheless, Bent became a prominent and important person because he was bilingual and understood both American and American Indian cultures.

His life was full of adventure, misfortune, accomplishments and failures, which John Steile will explore in depth during this lecture.

When: Saturday, March 10 at 4 p.m.
Where: The Lone Tree Hub

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m. 
Where: Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, March 11 at 6 p.m. 
Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Buffalo tenderloin served Gonzales style with green chile sauce, cheddar mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables

— Fourth course —

Caramel blonde brownie a la mode

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

 

George Bent: Uncovering a Half-Breed History

In this lecture, Dr. Anne Hyde, a Colorado College history professor, recipient of the Bancroft Prize and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, dives deeper into the intimate and often not discussed result of the fur trade – the mixed race families. The children of unions between European and Native Americans embraced both heritages, and for the next two hundred years, these mixed families quietly engaged in peaceful relations. Just how this alternative story of race relations emerged, what sustained it, who destroyed it and why, makes George Bent’s story one that will break your heart.

When: Saturday, March 17 at 4 p.m.
Where: Buck Recreation Center

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m.
Where: Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, March 18 at 6 p.m.
Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Buffalo prime rib served with garlic mashed potatoes, Dixon red chile gravy and horseradish sauce

— Fourth course —

Negrita chocolate dessert

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

 

The Strange Career of William Ellis 

William Henry Ellis was born into slavery on a southern Texas plantation. From birth, odds were against him, but with the unlikely combination of determination, the ability to speak Spanish and dark olive skin, Ellis reinvented himself. By the turn of the 20th century, he changed his name to Guillermo Enrique Eliseo and was a successful entrepreneur on Wall Street.

Dr. Karl Jacoby joins us for a lecture featuring his book, The Strange Career of William Ellis, a story that reminds the audience that race is ultimately a fiction we tell ourselves to divide people. Jacoby will explore fresh insights on the history of the Reconstruction era, the U.S. and Mexican border and the abiding riddle of race.

When: Saturday, April 7 at 4 p.m.
Where: The Lone Tree Hub

Lecture is free to the public.

Sunday, April 8 at 2 p.m.
Where: Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, April 8 at 6 p.m.
Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Mountain Meets the Sea, featuring buffalo sirloin and grilled shrimp, served with green chile sauce

— Fourth course —

Chile chocolate bourbon cake

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

 

Leaving the Comfort Zone: Mountain Men and the Trappings of a Wilderness Lifestyle

Sarah Pickman, a Yale Doctoral Student, presents our last lecture of the year and explores the changing ideas of what it means to “live comfortably.”

Sarah studies the history of exploration, field collecting, natural history museums and anthropology with a special interest in the material culture of expeditions.

Utilizing mountain men as discussion starting points, she will bring to light the physical hardships and isolation they endured while working as trappers, traders and pathbreakers across the old West. Yet, by the late nineteenth century, a host of new goods and activities allowed urban Americans to enjoy a taste of the mountain man lifestyle within new middle-class norms around “comfort.” Pickman queries what this all means in her informative and creative lecture. 

When: Saturday, April 21 at 4 p.m.
Where: Buck Recreation Center

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m.
Where: Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, April 22 at 6 p.m.
Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Buffalo BBQ ribs served with cheddar mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables

— Fourth course —

Crème de caramel

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

 

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Holiday Traditions with Tesoro Cultural Center

‘Tis the season for holiday festivities, and at Tesoro Cultural Center, we celebrate in historic fashion, with traditions unique to Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, near the original Bent’s Old Fort. This year, make our traditions your own, and celebrate the season with Tesoro Cultural Center.

Farolito Lighting and Pinecone Ceremony

When: Sunday, November 26, from 4-6 p.m.

Where: On the grounds of The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: This event is free, and open to the public.

*Please wear warm clothing, as this event takes place outside.

Join us as we usher in the holiday season and honor a member of the community with our annual Farolito Lighting and Pinecone Ceremony. The ceremony, a Fort tradition for more than 25 years, is a southwestern twist on the Christmas tree lighting. Instead of the tree, farolitos – paper bags filled with sand and a candle – are lit by the honoree, and fill The Fort’s open-air courtyard. The tradition of lighting farolitos is believed to have originated from Spanish merchants who were inspired themselves by Chinese Paper Lanterns. It was believed that the lights will guide the spirit of Christ to the home.

This year’s honoree is Steve Friesen, acclaimed author and executive director of the Buffalo Bill Museum. Friesen has written two books on the life and adventures of Buffalo Bill; they include Buffalo Bill: Scout, Showman, Visionary, and another that was published just this year, called Lakota Performers in Europe; Their Culture and the Artifacts They Left Behind. Friesen is considered one of the most senior authorities on the beloved Western showman.

Developed by The Fort’s founder, Sam’l P. Arnold, and his wife, Carrie, the Pinecone Ceremony was inspired by events across the world that honor loved ones who have passed away or live far away during the holiday season. During the ceremony, guests are invited to write a message to their loved one, tuck it into a pinecone and toss it into the bonfire as thoughts and prayers are sent up into the night sky. The tradition dates back to 19th century, and it was believed that as the fire burned the pinecones, the messages were transported to the heavens.

Feel the warmth of the fire, and sing along to Christmas carols from the 1830s with strolling musicians and students from the Colorado School of Mines, while you enjoy Mexican hot chocolate, hot cider and traditional biscochitos.

Members-Only Holiday Auction Party

When: Sunday, December 3, at 5 p.m.

Where: The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: $25 per member

Shop, dine and celebrate the holiday season while supporting Tesoro’s educational programs and community events at our members-only Holiday Auction Party. The annual auction includes fine wines, jewelry and pieces from award-winning artists including Charlie Carillo, Pahponee, Juan Lopez and more. 

Break out your favorite buckskin, military uniform or other piece of 19th century period dress, and enter Tesoro’s costume contest. Lance Grabowski, Holly Arnold Kinney and Shawn MacLeod will be the judges.

Your ticket includes delicious appetizers from The Fort, holiday treats and two drink tickets. There will also be a cash bar available, and entertainment will be provided by Rex Rideout and Doc Grizzly.

If you’re not yet a member of Tesoro Cultural Center, join today by visiting http://bit.ly/2qTZoi0.

Las Posadas

When: Sunday, December 24, from 4-5:30 p.m.

Where: On the grounds of The Fort Restaurant (19192 CO-8, Morrison, CO 80465)

Cost: This event is free and open to the public.

*Please wear warm clothing, as this event takes place outside.

 In many small Hispanic towns in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, the holidays are marked by a centuries-old religious celebration known as Las Posadas, which lasts for several weeks, and includes a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem as depicted in the Christian Bible. The commemoration is believed to have been started in 1586 by the Friars of San Agustin de Acolman. Originally held in a church, the custom spread as the centuries progressed.

The traditional celebration takes place over several nights leading up to Christmas. Each night’s celebration begins with a candlelit procession of caroling participants that ends at a different local home each night, where La Cancion Para Pedir Posada is sung at the front door. Traditionally, the song is split into a duet, with those outside singing the part of Joseph asking for shelter, and the family inside responding as the innkeeper saying there is no room. The two sides continue for a few verses before the host finally opens the door and everyone goes inside for a celebration. 

Tesoro produces a condensed version of the tradition, in which children are invited to participate in a reenactment of the biblical scene, musicians play customary Las Posadas songs, and complimentary biscochito cookies, hot cider and Mexican hot chocolate are served.

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Tesoro’s 2017 Historic Lecture Series

Each year, our historic lecture series features the finest humanities scholars, historians and authors in the field of Western American history. The lecture series cultivates a new appreciation for diverse cultures that shaped our current landscape. From Apache wars to The Fort’s own ghost stories, 19th century American Western history comes alive through each lecture.

Dinner lectures at The Fort Restaurant include a special prix fixe menu, featuring The Fort’s famous salad, award winning guacamole, entrée and dessert*. All proceeds from the dinner lectures are donated to Tesoro Cultural Center’s educational and cultural programs.

*Menus are subject to change. Vegetarian options are available. Check website for the most up-to-date menu.

Ghosts of The Fort

Dr. Tom Noel will kick off this year’s lecture series with a dinner lecture and guided tour at The Fort’s historic – and possibly haunted – grounds. Join us for an evening full of delicious food and drink, Colorado history and more.

Dinner Lecture

When: Sunday, October 15 at 6 p.m.

Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Buffalo sirloin steak medallion, served with William Bent’s grilled teriyaki quail and Dixon red chile gravy

— Fourth course —

Holly’s historic adobe sundae

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

The Apache Wars

Dr. Paul Andrew Hutton is an American cultural historian, award-winning author, documentary writer and natural storyteller. Lecturing from his award-winning book, The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, The Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History, Hutton will explore the gripping story of the Apache’s long fight against Mexico and the United States.

The Apache – who were historically known for being nomads – were not a single tribe, but instead a group of tribes consisting of the Chiricahu, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Navajo Plains and Western Apache People. Their nomadic tendencies typically resulted in raids against enemy tribes for food to hunt and gather.

The first conflicts between the Apache and United States began during the Mexican-American War in 1849, after sub-nations of the Apache tribe continued their raids, despite a settlement made with the U.S. government. Utilizing joint American and Mexican intelligence, U.S. forces went on search and destroy missions in an attempt to force Apache groups onto reservations.

While Afghanistan is commonly referred to as America’s longest war, the Apache Wars were much longer, lasting the better part of three decades.

Join us for his insightful and vivid lecture, which is guaranteed to immerse you in the rugged landscape of Apacheria.

When: Saturday, October 28 at 4 p.m.
Where: Buck Recreation Center

Lecture is free to the public.

When: Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m. 
Where: Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

Lecture is free to the public.

Dinner Lecture

When: Sunday, October 29 at 6 p.m. 

Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Buffalo prime rib served with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables, Dixon red chile gravy and horseradish sauce

— Fourth course —

Charlotte Green’s homemade blueberry pie a la mode

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

The Night the Stars Fell

On the morning of November 27, 1833, thousands of meteors showered North America’s sky, but to the American Indians, it appeared as though the stars were falling from the heavens. The Lakota tribe marked the event by resetting their calendar, and the Cheyenne did so by signing a peace treaty.

Dr. Steve Lee, a research scientist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, will present a dinner lecture at The Fort to explain this natural phenomenon – now known as the Leonid Meteor Shower – from both a scientific and cultural perspective.

To give guests the ultimate perspective, Denver’s Astronomical Society will set up telescopes in The Fort’s courtyard.

Dinner Lecture

When: Sunday, November 12 at 6 p.m. 
Where: The Fort Restaurant

— First course —

Award-winning Fort guacamole, salsa fresca and chips

— Second course —

The Fort’s famous salad, served with crisp mixed greens, jicama, toasted pepitas and pickled ginger

— Third course —

Mountain Meets the Sea, featuring buffalo sirloin and grilled shrimp, served with green chile sauce

— Fourth course —

S’mores

Purchase dinner lecture tickets by visiting http://bit.ly/2wlSKnS.

Stay tuned for a sneak peek of the 2018 installments of our Historic Lecture Series, coming in November!

Head Back to School with Tesoro

School is back in session, and we’re excited to welcome students, teachers and parents for a variety of educational programs, which are dedicated to bringing the diverse history of early Colorado to life.

Bent’s Fort: A Crossroads

This two-hour fieldtrip, held on the grounds of The Fort Restaurant, explores the history of Bent’s Old Fort and Colorado. Led by educators and interpreters dressed in authentic attire, this program is ideal for students grades third through eight. In accordance with Colorado Model Content Academic Standards, students learn how the Bent’s Old Fort multicultural community helped shape the present-day west through commerce, constructive problem solving and communication. Learn more about our on-site field trips by contacting us via http://bit.ly/2wnQNtu

Educational Videos

Tesoro proudly produced three educational films focused on the Kiowa and Ute tribes and the early Spanish settlers of the west. Our films explore the art, culture and history of each. To view these videos online, please visit http://bit.ly/2wyBz5C.

Historic Lecture Series

Our historic lecture series features the finest humanities scholars, historians and authors in the field of Western American history. The lecture series cultivates a new appreciation for the diverse cultures that shaped our current landscape. Click here to view the upcoming lecture schedule.

Additional Curriculum

The Kiowa Curriculum is an oral history video, “The Kiowa People: In Their Own Words,” and includes a companion activity packet. The program features a Kiowa tribal member, John Emhoolah, and his family. It outlines the origin and migration of the Kiowa people, the use of horses and hunting practices, the importance of trade and Bent’s Old Fort, spiritual visions and warrior societies, and traditional music and dancing. The curriculum is available for distribution to teachers, schools and media centers, and all activities support current Colorado Academic Standards. Please click here for additional information.

Our ongoing educational programming would not be possible without the support of our members and volunteers. If you’re passionate about the history of the old west, we encourage you to join our team. For additional information about member benefits, please visit http://bit.ly/2x8ZFDn.

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Celebrate Tesoro Cultural Center’s 1830s Rendezvous

From tomahawk throwing to hide scraping and flint and steel fire starting, we will celebrate the mountain men and frontier women of the Fur Trade era this September with our annual 1830s Rendezvous event.

This weekend-long celebration, now in its 16th year, features demonstrations, re-enactments and hands-on activities for all ages. The 1830s Rendezvous also honors those committed to excellence in historical interpretation and craftsmanship. This year, our honored guest and Tesoro de Hoy award recipient is John M. Carson, park ranger and interpreter at Bent’s Old Fort. Guests will have the opportunity to talk to Mr. Carson during the daytime events, as well as purchase his books. Learn more about Mr. Carson and his roots at the historic site here.

During the weekend, guests will be able to immerse themselves in interactive activities like learning to throw a tomahawk and rope making. Demonstrations will include black powder shooting and blacksmithing, which highlight the crafts and skills necessary to survive on the Colorado plains during the Bent’s Old Fort era in the mid 1800s. 

The Bent’s Old Fort era, which coincides with the American Fur Trade era, lasted from 1833 to 1849. Bent’s Old Fort, originally constructed near La Junta, Colorado, was an international trading post located on the Arkansas River. At the time the fort was built, the Arkansas River served as the border between the US Territory and Mexico. Bent’s Old Fort operated from 1833 until 1849, and was strategic in its location and in the opening of the American Southwest. Many cultures lived, traded and passed through Bent’s Old Fort, including multiple American Indian tribes, the Spanish, French and American fur trappers and traders, and African Americans.

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Trade Economics at Bent’s Old Fort

During the 1830s and 1840s, people from many different cultures traveled the Santa Fe Trail and met at Bent’s Old Fort. Known as the “Castle of the Plains,” Bent’s Old Fort was a private international trading fort located on the Arkansas River which quickly became a hub of commerce and trade.

Hunters and fur trappers were essential to the outpost, bringing food and pelts to keep the rich fur trade thriving. American Indian interpreters maintained communication with surrounding tribes, while frontier cooks, blacksmiths, soldiers and domestics allowed the fort to operate as a city unto itself. (Photo: The Colorado Directory)

Trade goods at Bent’s Old Fort came from all over world and the prices for these goods would often fluctuate dramatically. During the 1830s, coffee and soap could each be bought at Bent’s Old Fort for approximately $1 per pound. To have your shirt laundered, visitors would have to pay $0.25 per clothing item. While things like corn and flour came from Missouri, goods such as wool, cotton, brandy and wine came all the way from France. Guns, a popular trade item, often originated from Delaware and tobacco came from the mid-Atlantic states.

At Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site today, historians recreate the sights and sounds of what life was like during the fur trade era with guided tours and demonstrations. Additionally, Tesoro Cultural Center offers guided Living History Tours at The Fort Restaurant for groups, schools and more, which are available by appointment only and feature interpreters, short films and hands-on activities to provide insight into the life and cultures of early Colorado. For more information, please call 303-839-1671 or email info@tesoroculturalcenter.org.

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