The Red and the White: The Saga of a Mixed-Race Family in Nineteenth-Century Montana

Andrew Graybill, Associate Professor, Department of History, and Director, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Graybill explores the shifting grounds of race in Montana (and the wider West) between 1850 and 1900 through the experiences of a single family of mixed native-white ancestry. Beginning in 1844 with the marriage of fur trader Malcolm Clarke and a young Piegan Blackfeet woman, Coth-co-co-na, Graybill traces the Clarkes from the mid-nineteenth century, when such mixed marriages were common (as well as crucial to the workings of the fur trade), to the start of the twentieth century, when Clarke’s children and grandchildren frequently encountered virulent racial prejudice as "people in between." At the center of this historical narrative is the virtually unexamined 1870 Marias Massacre, which is on par with the more infamous slaughters at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee. Though the Marias Massacre was set in motion by the murder of Malcolm Clarke, his two sons rode with the Second US Cavalry to slaughter their own blood relatives.

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