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State parks present ‘Roots of Un-Civil War'

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In West Virginia, 2013 will be marked by numerous historical commemorative events highlighting the year 1863. That's the year the American Civil War brought about great changes to our nation, not the least of which was the federal recognition and creation of West Virginia as the 35th state.

Subsumed in the 150th birth year celebration is another anniversary of no less importance and perhaps with even greater impact on the future of the region that would become "The Mountain State," the 250th anniversary of Shawnee warrior Cornstalk's raid on the western Virginia Euro-American settlements in the Trans-Allegheny region. Cornstalk burst onto the scene of recorded history in 1763 when, against the British colony of Virginia, he conducted a military campaign that was arguably one of the most successful campaigns of Pontiac's War. Cornstalk's campaign took place through the Kanawha/New River valley to colonial settlements in the Greenbrier country, upper New River valley, Roanoke River, and Jackson's River.

The living history educators of Trails Inc. will commemorate this history-changing event throughout 2013 at various sites. The series is staged at three state parks and other areas: Kanawha State Forest, May 4; Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, June 1; Lake Sherwood Recreation Area (Monongahela National Forest), June 19; Sandstone Visitor Center (National Park Service) July 6; and Hawks Nest State Park, Sept. 7.

This is an opportunity to learn of the cultural differences leading to conflict between the Shawnees and Trans-Allegheny Virginians in 1763. Cultural life-ways, such as warrior camps, Virginia settler forts, prisoner treatment, food gathering/growing, gender roles, children's activities and language will be explored through lecture, living history demonstration and hands-on activities.

 "The Roots of the Un-Civil War" series is the cooperative effort of the West Virginia Humanities Council, The New River Gorge National River, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia State Parks, and Trails, Inc. The complete schedule and activities at each state park date is posted online at www.wvstateparks.com, Event Calendar tab, Summer Programs.