John Burke to portray Native American, frontier lifestyle at CIHS

May 29, 2019 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Historian John Burke will wear Native American dress for the Catawba Island Historical Society’s Lecture Series on June 12.

John Burke, a student of Indian lore since he was in the Order of the Arrow as an Eagle Scout, will offer interpretations of Native Americans and frontier personalities at the first presentation in the 2019 Catawba Island Historical Society Cultural Lecture Series.

Burke, the county treasurer in Medina County, will dress in self-made regalia from period materials that duplicate authentic museum pieces. The lecture is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, at the Catawba Island Township Community Hall on West Catawba Road.

A nationally acclaimed historian, Burke portrayed Lakota Sioux war chief Crow King at the 125th anniversary reenactment of “Custer’s Last Stand at the Little Bighorn in Montana” in 2001. In 2009, he participated in the 250th anniversary of the siege of Fort Niagara with 3,500 British, French and Indian reenactors. In 2012, he was at the 200th anniversary reenactment of the siege of Fort Meigs.

The presentation for the Catawba Island Historical Society will draw on Burke’s past portrayals of Captain Wolf, a Lenapi (Delaware) Indian who witnessed the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, and Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa tribe who inspired the first major confederation of this area’s indigenous people.

Bill Van Der Giessen, Vice President of the Historical Society, noted that “several of the new Timeline Tale exhibits at the Catawba Museum at Union Chapel are now dedicated to Native Americans. Burke’s presentation will compliment the broad public interest in those displays and artifacts.”

The lecture series and museum are open to the public without charge. Instead of relying upon admission fees, these services are funded principally by subscriptions to the Catawba Island Historical Society. More information about membership is available at

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