James Leiker

Scholar shares Kansas history

The exodus of the Northern Cheyenne Indians from Indian Territory in 1878 will be the subject of the spring College Scholar presentation by James Leiker, director, Kansas Studies Institute, and professor of history at Johnson County Community College. 

Leiker will discuss the exodus as well as the cultural memories of the remaining Cheyenne community in two presentations open to the public. 

The first will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in Hudson Auditorium. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be in the nearby Shull Atrium of the Regnier Center. 

“The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory” is the title of Leiker’s book and April 11 presentation. The book, co-authored with Ramon Powers, was published in the fall of 2011 by Oklahoma University Press. 

The second presentation will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 12, in Craig Community Auditorium. The talk, “History, Memory and the Fruitless Search for an Objective Past,” will explore the relationship of history – an empirically based science that attempts an objective” understanding of the past – and memory – the cumulative myths and stories that people tell themselves as a means of funding cultural self-definition. 

Leiker, associate professor, has taught history at JCCC since 2002. He received his doctorate degree in U.S. Social History from the University of Kansas and was named the director of the Kansas Studies Institute, based at JCCC, in 2009. In addition to his latest book, he is also the author of “Racial Borders: Black Soldiers Along the Rio Grande” and “The Changing Village: A Centennial History of Antonino, Kansas 1905-2005.”