Jim Remsen

AUTHOR AND FREELANCE EDITOR

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Our Undying Past

Preserving Carlisle School's story

December 5, 2014

Tags: Native Americans, Indians, Carlisle, civilization, education, landmark


A Carlisle Indian Industrial School student, before and after his assimilation. A coalition of descendants and allies is working to create a heritage center about the controversial school.
You’ve probably heard of Jim Thorpe, the immortal American Indian athlete. Maybe you knew he gained fame a century ago while a student at the Indian Industrial School at Carlisle, Pa. But did you know that in the eyes of many Indians and cultural historians, Thorpe’s fame is easily matched by the Carlisle school’s infamy?

For four decades beginning in 1879, the Carlisle school existed to “civilize” over 10,000 native students--to make them think and act white. Carlisle was one in a network of federally run boarding schools that systematically pulled Indian youngsters from their home reservations, sheared them of their traditional hair, names, language and traditions, and subjected them to a regimen of “total immersion” in European ways. At the time, this was considered a humane alternative to the rabid voices for extermination that were being raised, especially in the West. (more…)

Why Teaoga? It's in history's vortex

September 12, 2014

Tags: Native Americans, Indians, Iroquois, Revolutionary War, New York, Pennsylvania, education

During the recent virtual-blog tour held as part of my Visions of Teaoga book launch, I was asked to reflect on why I wrote this historical novel. A fine question. Here's my answer:

Teaoga is a place that smacked me upside the head. Grabbed me and shouted, “Listen!”

Seriously, I wrote Visions of Teaoga because of the story it has to tell. Multiple stories, in fact – a crazy cavalcade of stories. Ever since I was a boy, I’ve been the type to lie back in the grass and sense the mysterious hum of the land and the people who came before. If you’re at all like that, you know what I mean. Not that I’m all supernatural. I’ll feel a place’s vibe--but I’ll also study up on the facts of its history.

So when a road trip a few years ago took me into Teaoga, now the quiet, seemingly idyllic riverfront community of Athens, Pennsylvania, its past reached out and smacked me. You may not have heard of this town, but it stood on the front lines of many of the conflicts and upheavals that swept the Eastern Woodlands in the colonial and Revolutionary era. It was at various times an Indian stronghold, a Christian mission field, a treaty ground, the launching site for several scorched-earth campaigns, the last bastion of a failed breakaway state, and more.

That’s why I wrote about it—because Teaoga was truly a microcosm of our nation’s turbulent beginnings. I wrote about it because (more…)

Selected Works by Jim Remsen

Nonfiction
The chronicle of a group of fugitive slaves and the world they encountered in the wary North. Despite serving bravely in the Civil War, their battle for respect was never-ending.
A comprehensive, immensely practical self-help book for intermarried families and those who love them.
Historical fiction
A tween girl visits a seemingly out-of-the-way town on a summer vacation and has close encounters with its amazing past. This saga blends history, suspense, and a coming-of-age journey.

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