posted October 25, 2010

Presentation on Civil War Native American Sharpshooters

The role of Native Americans from Michigan in the Union Army will be the focus of "Forgotten Warriors: Company K in the Civil War" on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. at Hope College in the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The event will feature a keynote address by historian Chris Czopek and excerpts from "The Road to Andersonville" by documentary filmmaker Dr. David Schock, who is a former associate professor of communication at Hope.  The film will be introduced by Roger Williams, an elder in the Pokagon Potawatomi tribe.

Sponsored by the college's Office of Multicultural Education, the evening has been scheduled in conjunction with national Native American Heritage Month, which is November.

Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters consisted of Native Americans recruited from the Three Fires Tribes in Michigan: the Odawa (Ottawa), Bodewadmik (Potawatomi) and Ojibway (Chippewa).  Known as "the all-Indian Company," they wore the same uniform and received the same pay as all the other soldiers in the Union Army.  They fought in Virginia under General Grant in some of the fiercest battles of the Civil War.

Czopek, who has spent 15 years gathering information on the men of the company, will focus on his latest discovery:  the seven soldiers who died as prisoners of war in the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville, Ga.

Only recently have the soldiers' graves been located.  When news of the discovery reached the Michigan tribes, a group of their veterans gathered together, traveled to Georgia, and honored the seven graves with a traditional Native ceremony.  Schock accompanied the group and chronicled the experience and interviews with the veterans who participated.

The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication is located at 257 Columbia Ave., at the corner of Columbia Avenue and 10th Street.