Deerfield – Why This Story

Deerfield – Illustration – Narrative

My Deerfield Project is the illustration and research of an 18th-century American event. The culmination of my work on this project is an illustrative nonfiction book. The finished project will explore actual events of the story of a young girl experiencing enormous trauma, who discarded her birth culture and national identity for another. I want to create an interactive, experiential, and digital version of this story, “Whispering Stick: A story of Identity in Early America.” Readers will also be asked to consider the importance of ‘place’ and the experience of liminal spaces within one’s location, culture, and how these coalesce as identity.

My aim for the Deerfield Project is to visualize an event in American history on two scales: the individual, the experiences of the Williams family, and the national, Eunice Williams’ choices relative to her heritage and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Now more than ever, Americans are answering complicated questions of identity, culture, and community, and it is essential to navigate this time and steer our society and government and create the country we want to build. The stories of individual lives are what matter and what construct communal social history. Historical events are portrayed in deeply uninteresting ways, such as in unapproachable academic tomes so the events appear atomically irrelevant to contemporary lives, culture, political realities. I think this is an injustice to the events and to historical fact and I would like to interject change.

Ultimately, illustrating this work has been an attempt to construct a narrative of past American history with the current cultural and national narrative many Americans and American politicians are struggling to establish. I feel that illustrating this project is a means to relate, communicate, explain the Eunice Williams’ choices to remain with her Native, Canadian captors, and the larger implications regarding her choice within the rise of colonial identity, leading to the American Revolution, and the establishment of modern notions of nationalism and American identity.


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