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Questioning our Storied Past: A discussion on America’s founding narratives

As the nation approaches its 250th anniversary, Americans continue to grapple with ongoing social injustice and political conflict rooted in our nation’s founding stories. This program will explore how these stories have been made, shared, and passed on and what to make of the gaps and intentional erasures. Speakers will question how national narratives are built, why they exist, who they serve, and how to transform them. This program will also discuss the importance of creating spaces that dignify diverse stories and difficult truths to reexamine how we see ourselves and our shared past.

Join this lively discussion led by Professor Philip Deloria featuring author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Elon Cook Lee (National Trust for Historic Preservation), and Nathaniel Sheidley (Revolutionary Spaces). The program will end with a moving rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” arranged by Berklee College of Music student Amanda Bradshaw.



Oct 26 2021


6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


  • Amanda Bradshaw
    Amanda Bradshaw
    (she/her) Artist

    Amanda Bradshaw is a 21 year old artist from Maplewood, New Jersey. She graduated from Columbia High School, class of ’18 and is currently pursuing her Bachelors degree at Berklee College of Music. She has been writing and arranging music since high school and has 2 personal projects out. Amanda can be seen achieving goals in many different avenues, such as appearing on the Apollo as the assistant music director of Pitch Slapped, and having a featured role in the breakout movie CODA.

  • Elon Cook Lee
    Elon Cook Lee
    (she/her) Director of Interpretation and Education in the Historic Sites Department of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

    Elon Cook Lee is a public historian, educator, curator, and interpreter. She became the Director of Interpretation and Education at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2019 where she leads a variety of initiatives that focus on interpreting historic spaces through frameworks of repair, and equitable collaboration with descendants of slavery, exclusion, and colonization. That work includes creating and leading a new vision for the interpretation of sites with histories of slavery and organizing convenings on interpreting slavery at historic sites throughout the Atlantic world. Before coming to the Trust, she received her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College, and both a master’s degree in Public Humanities and the Fellowship for the Study of the Public History of Slavery at Brown University.

  • Nathaniel Sheidley
    Nathaniel Sheidley
    (he/him) President & CEO, Revolutionary Spaces

    Nathaniel Sheidley is the first President and CEO of Revolutionary Spaces, a new cultural organization dedicated to connecting people to the history and continuing practice of democracy through an encounter with two of the nation’s most important Revolutionary sites. Previously Nat taught at Wellesley College and served as the Bostonian Society’s Director of Public History. He has curated and provided creative direction for numerous exhibitions and programs, including Blood on the Snow, an immersive, site-specific work of theater that dramatizes the pivotal aftermath of the Boston Massacre in the very room where the events took place. Nat’s work is guided by a deeply held belief that public history at its best can do more than tell us about the past; it can also deepen our understanding of the present and equip us to build a more just and equitable future. (Photo Credit: Justin Saglio)

  • Philip J. Deloria
    Philip J. Deloria
    (he/him) Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University

    Philip J. Deloria is the Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard University, where his research and teaching focus on the social, cultural and political histories of the relations among American Indian peoples and the United States. He is the author of several books, including Playing Indian (Yale University Press, 1998), Indians in Unexpected Places (University Press of Kansas, 2004), American Studies: A User’s Guide (University of California Press, 2017), with Alexander Olson, and Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract (University of Washington Press, 2019), as well as two co-edited books and numerous articles and chapters. Deloria received the Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1994, taught at the University of Colorado, and then, from 2001 to 2017, at the University of Michigan, before joining the faculty at Harvard in January 2018. Deloria is a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He is former president of the American Studies Association, an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the recipient of numerous prizes and recognitions, and serves as president of the Organization of American Historians in 2022.

  • Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
    Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
    Historian and author

    Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a historian, writer, and professor emeritus at California State University and longtime social justice activist. She is author of fifteen books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico, her American Book Award winning 2014 book An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, and Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and A History of Exclusion and Erasure.

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