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!

Posted in Historic Lecture Series

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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