SOU Archaeology Professor to Explore Fort Lane, the Rogue Indian Wars, and their Lasting Impact

(Ashland, Ore.) – Dr. Mark Tveskov, Southern Oregon University Professor of Anthropology, will present “Myth, Memory, and Identity: Fort Lane and the Rogue River Wars” on Wednesday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meese Room of the Hannon Library on the SOU campus. A reception follows immediately. The talk is free and open to the public. Tveskov’s presentation is part of the Insights Distinguished Lecture Series.

Professor Tveskov will describe Southern Oregon University’s long-term archaeological and historical research at Fort Lane, and outline ongoing efforts by Jackson County, SOU, and the State of Oregon to develop Fort Lane into an Oregon State Park for the public to enjoy.

“The story of Fort Lane is the story of how southern Oregon was settled” says Tveskov.

Fort Lane was a U.S. Army military post constructed on the frontier of the Oregon Territory in 1853. The fort was occupied for less than three years by 100 men of the U.S. 1st Dragoons, whose mission was to maintain peace between the Indian people living on the short-lived Table Rock Indian Reservation and the pioneer settlers of the Rogue River valley.
Despite the short tenure of the post, its relative isolation and obscurity and its small complement of soldiers, Fort Lane was constructed at an important moment in history when pioneers were fighting indigenous people, local and global ecological processes were unfolding, nationalism and states-rights issues were being debated, and federal Indian policy was developing.
Within this background of contention, Fort Lane—a relatively simple collection of modest-sized log buildings—played and continues to play a powerful, understated, ambiguous, and ever-changing role in the social relations and identity of the inhabitants of Oregon.
Last fall, Professor Tveskov, his students and two-dozen volunteer archaeologists from the Rogue Valley began a dig at the Fort Lane site. An open house during the dig attracted 200 people. The Oregon State Parks Department is now planning how to best make the site available to the public on a regular basis.
Professor Tveskov has taught anthropology, environmental studies, and Native American studies at Southern Oregon University since 1998. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Oregon.
The Insights Distinguished Lecture Series was created by SOU President Mary Cullinan “to showcase the excellent work of our faculty and to share the high caliber of SOU teaching and research with audiences from on and off campus.”
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