Ojibwe author Anton Treuer has won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) for historical preservation, the group announced.
Treuer is the author of The Assassination of Hole in the Day (Borealis Books, 2010), which explores what led to the murder of the controversial Ojibwe chief of the title. Guiding his people through the initial years of white occupation and dispossession, Hole in the Day “created a new kind of leadership for the Ojibwe,” the association said in a media release.
The award comes 144 years almost to the day after Hole in the Day was assassinated on June 27, 1868, by at least 12 Ojibwe men who accosted him as he traveled to Washington, D.C. to contest the removal of the Mississippi Ojibwe to the White Earth Reservation. Treuer, a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, has written nine books, including the recent Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask and Ojibwe in Minnesota.
The Assassination of Hole in the Day takes an in-depth look at the underlying reasons for the chief’s killing, including “personal jealousy, retribution for his claiming to be head chief of the Ojibwe, retaliation for the attacks he fomented in 1862, or reprisal for his attempts to keep mixed-blood Ojibwe off the White Earth Reservation,” the AASLH said. “Still later, investigators found evidence of a more disturbing plot involving some of his closest colleagues: the business elite at Crow Wing.”
Treuer’s approach was consistent with the guidelines of the awards, which were created in 1945 to recognize outstanding achievement in historical preservation and interpretation, the association said.
“While most historians concentrate on the Ojibwe relationship with whites to explain this story, Anton Treuer focuses on interactions with other tribes, the role of Ojibwe culture and tradition, and interviews with more than 50 elders to further explain the events leading up to the death of Hole in the Day,” the AASLH said. “The Assassination of Hole in the Day is not only the biography of a powerful leader but an extraordinarily insightful analysis of a pivotal time in the history of the Ojibwe people.”