History of Illinois Students Expand Classroom

History of Illinois Students Expand Classroom at Isle a la Cache

Published: September 9, 2016.

Mike Speller, Interpreter/naturalist, stands with
Lewis University students at
Isle a la Cache preserve and museum.

Placed-based learning was in action for Lewis University students as they visited Isle a la Cache preserve and museum. The site highlights the chain of cultural links and economic ties between Native Americans and French traders from the 1600s to the 1800s.

"The students read about it in books, but it really comes to life when you are standing on a low island of the Des Plaines River. We can really connect this great nearby history to national and international themes," said Dr. Dennis Cremin, professor of history.

The culture of the Potawatomie Nation centered on hunting. The French voyageurs bought the pelts and stored them in caches on the island; when enough of them were gathered they would be tied into bales and sent by canoe to Montreal or southward to New Orleans. Their French-language heritage became one of the first elements of the multilingual diversity of today's Will County. The preserve includes reconstruction of the longhouses once used by the trade participants.

Students in the History of Illinois course visit a number of local history sites as part of their course.

"We have a wealth of excellent local or regional museums or sites that are within five miles or less of Lewis University. We also visit the Gaylord Building and Lincoln Landing in Lockport, the Joliet Iron Works Site, the Joliet Area Historical Museum, and even the Wadsworth Art gallery at Lewis University," added Cremin

Students enrolled in the class are Brandon Ceplecha, Troy Costabile, Brody Fay, Danielle Knaak, Rafael Marzo, Richard Maska, Raymond McGlynn, Katherine Rogala and Charles Wright.

Danielle Bradley, Lewis University History Center Graduate Assistant, joined the class for the tour.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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