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Kalmar Nyckel : Lectures : 2009 – Lecture Series — Inauguration

2009 – Lecture Series — Inauguration

Abigail Seldin, Flying With the Fourth Crow: A Reflection on Curating “Fulfilling a Prophecy” – The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania and Delaware

Abby Seldin became the first Penn anthropology undergraduate to curate an exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – “Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania” (which runs from Sept. 13, 2008 to Sept. 13, 2009).  Working with co-curators Chief Bob Redhawk Ruth, currently serving his second term as Chief of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, and Shelley DePaul, Language Director of the Lenape Nation, Abby Seldin has overturned the conventional histories of our region.  Most accounts present the Lenape people as being driven completely from Pennsylvania and Delaware by the early 19th century, with any local survivors expiring shortly thereafter or becoming fully assimilated into the prevailing Euro-American culture.  In working on an undergraduate project entitled “Native Voice,” which originally planned to focus on the Lenape people’s trek from Pennsylvania to their current locations in the Midwest and Canada, Abby discovered otherwise.  Many Lenape, in turns out, often children of Lenape-European marriages, stayed here in secret.  Hiding their tribal heritage for more than two hundred years, they consciously avoided discovery by both the government and their neighbors.

 How it was that Abby Seldin, college undergrad, gained the trust of so many Lenape descendants and eventually the Tribal Council is a worthy and interesting story all its own – one that she will be happy to relate to her audience on March 19th at the Chase Center Auditorium.   Over time Abby was able to draw out extraordinary oral histories, family heirlooms, photographs, ethnographic records, and archaeological objects.  This led Abby to join co-curators Chief Bob Redhawk Ruth and Shelley DePaul in a fully collaborative exhibition, “Fulfilling a Prophecy,” organized by the Penn Museum and the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania.  The curatorial team “deliberately organized the exhibition in a way that acknowledges and respects both Western and Native American approaches to learning and storytelling.”  They consciously framed the exhibition’s timeline by using an ancient Lenape story, “The Prophecy of the Fourth Crow.”  Chief Redhawk Ruth relates the current interpretation of the Prophecy on the Exhibition’s website (see, www.museum.upenn.edu):

                 “We now know that the First Crow was the Lenape before the coming

                of the Europeans.  The Second Crow symbolized the death and destruction

                of our culture.  The Third Crow was our people going underground and

                hiding.  The Fourth Crow was the Lenape becoming caretakers again

                and working with everybody to restore this land.”

 Abby Seldin says her “Fulfilling a Prophecy” is a story about “the endurance of a culture, and the faith of a people waiting for a better time, for the Time of the Fourth Crow.  That time is now.”

Fred Hocker, Raising Vasa

Wilmington, Delaware, April 15, 2009 – The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, in keeping with its educational mission to enrich the lives of students of all ages, today announced its second lecture in a new series designed to engage the intellectual interest of all Delawareans.  For its second lecture, the Foundation will present Dr. Frederick Hocker, the Vasa Museum’s Director of Research, which will take place at the Chase Center on the Riverfront on May 13, 2009.  “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Fred Hocker to the greater Wilmington community,” said Samuel Heed, the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s Director of Education.

 “Dr. Hocker comes to us all the way from Stockholm, Sweden,” Heed noted, “where he is the Director of Research at the world famous Vasa Museum.  Dr. Hocker is one of the world’s leading authorities on maritime archaeology.  He has been directing the archeological research at the Vasa Museum since 2003, where he is responsible for documenting and publishing all the archaeological finds associated with the extraordinary Vasa.”  Vasa is reputed to be the biggest single object that has ever been preserved, a monumental undertaking, one that continues to delight and surprise all sorts of historians and archaeologists. 

 Vasa is one of the rarest of rare treasures,” Heed added, “an intact warship from 1628, salvaged and raised from the bottom of Stockholm harbor in 1961 – after spending some 333 years on the bottom of the sea.”  At the time of the salvage operation in 1961, the Vasa Museum reports, there was great uncertainty whether the old wooden ship would remain in one piece.   It did, thanks to the expert work of a team of Sweden’s Navy heavy divers, under the leadership of Per Edvin Fälting.  The final stage of the salvage operation was broadcast live on Swedish television, something that was very unusual at the time.  All of Sweden held its collective breath, as the “proud royal warship Vasa” broke the surface at 9:03 am on April 24, 1961. (See Vasa Museum website at www.vasamuseet.se)

 Heed added that “the back story to the 1628 sinking of the mighty warship Vasa, the pride of the Swedish navy – on its maiden voyage and in front of thousands of spectators, including foreign diplomats, who filled the beaches surrounding Stockholm harbor – ranks alongside the Titanic for infamous maritime disasters.”  Of the 150 officers and crew on board when she heeled over and sank, 30 to 50 men died in the disaster.  When Vasa was salvaged in 1961, the remains of 25 skeletons were found by archaeologists.

 Frederick Hocker has been leading maritime archaeological excavations all over the world for twenty years.  Beside the Vasa, he has directed research and documentation for the Civil War ironclad U.S.S. Monitor, the 17th-century Swedish warship Kronan, the remains of a 9th-century Byzantine shipwreck off Turkey, a 19th-century schooner wreck in Lake Champlain, an 18th-century pilot sloop near Savannah, Georgia, and a 16th-century Iberian ship off Bermuda, among many others. 

 Before joining the Vasa Museum in 2003, Dr. Hocker was the Senior Researcher and Research Coordinator for the National Museum of Denmark Centre for Maritime Archaeology.  He has been the Sara W. and George O. Yanni Associate Professor of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University, a Visiting Faculty Member at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, a Research Associate at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, and an Archaeologist at the Bermuda Maritime Museum.  Dr. Hocker holds his Ph.d. in Anthropology and Archaeology from Texas A&M University, a Diploma in History from the University of Cambridge, England, and his B.A. in History from Middlebury College.  

“For anyone interested in maritime history, in archaeology, or in historic preservation,” Heed noted, “getting the chance to speak with and to listen to Dr. Frederick Hocker will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Dr. Hocker’s Open Forum gathering at the end of the lecture will be a special treat for all sailors, historians, and maritime enthusiasts.”  

Kalmar Nyckel : Lectures : 2009 – Lecture Series — Inauguration

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