Talk to Explore the Pacific Northwest in the Civil War Era


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News Release Date: November 28, 2011

Contact: Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian, 360.816.6231

Contact: Tania Hyatt-Evenson, The Oregon Encyclopedia, 503.725.3990

Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian at Fort Vancouver NHS, will speak on the connections between the Pacific Northwest and the American Civil War at McMenamin's Mission Theater on December 5, 2011.

"The Pacific Northwest & The American Civil War"

  • Presented by Greg Shine, Chief Ranger and Historian, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
  • Monday, December 5, 2011
  • 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm
  • McMenamin's Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., Portland, OR
  • Free and open to the public
In this year that the National Park Service and other organizations are beginning to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, Chief Ranger Greg Shine will describe the interesting role the Northwest played --not only because its states and territories were part of the ongoing battle over freedom and slavery, but also because of the army's particular relationship with the region's Native American groups.

"An ongoing theme in the Civil War Sesquicentennial is 'Civil War to Civil Rights,' " explained Shine, "and it is important to recognize how this theme also applies to the American Indian experience."

Fort Vancouver was an important base of operations for the U.S. Army prior to and after the Civil War. Soldiers and officers such as Ulysses S. Grant, and Philip Sheridan arrived in the 1850s to facilitate the settlement of the Northwest by establishing posts, building roads, escorting emigrants, and outfitting surveying expeditions. When the Civil War broke out, professional soldiers stationed at the Fort and other military posts in the Pacific Northwest were mostly sent east, and their positions were filled by hundreds of volunteers. Their Civil War task: to control the Native populations and secure the land for the Union and its citizens. 

Using images and documents from the past, Shine will describe the Civil War period in the Northwest, the significant people and events that influenced the outcome, the war's legacy, and the role memory plays in our understanding of the war.

Shine's talk is part of The Oregon Encyclopedia's (The OE) monthly series of History Nights at McMenamins pubs at the Mission Theater in partnership with the Northwest Examiner. At each History Night, The OE will look back at the seminal people and events that have shaped our communities.


Greg Shine is the chief ranger and historian at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and the Northwest Cultural Resources Institute. He is an adjunct faculty member in the History Department at Portland State University, where he instructs graduate students in the public history field school, and in January 2012 begins work as an adjunct faculty member in the Creative Media and Digital Culture Program at Washington State University-Vancouver, where he will team-teach digital storytelling. Greg has published articles, studies, reports, and technical papers for the National Park Service, as well as articles for several journals, including the Oregon Historical Quarterly.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is the heart of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. The Vancouver National Historic Reserve brings together a national park, a premier archaeological site, the region's first military post, an international fur trade emporium, one of the oldest operating airfields, the first national historic site west of the Mississippi River, and a waterfront trail and environmental center on the banks of the Columbia River. The partners of the Reserve teach visitors about the fur trade, early military life, natural history, and pioneers in aviation, all within the context of Vancouver's role in regional and national development. The Reserve's vast array of public programs -- including living history events, festivals, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special activities -- create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.

The OE is an online resource for information on the state's significant people, places, events, institutions, and biota. Over 800 entries and essays have been published online and new entries are added every day. For more information visit

The OE is a partnership between Portland State University, the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, and the Oregon Historical Society. The OE has received support from a collaborative of the state's five cultural partners-the Oregon Arts Council, Oregon Council for the Humanities, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Historical Society, and the State Historic Preservation Office-with funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust. The Oregon Council of Teachers of English, the Oregon Heritage Commission, the Oregon University System, Willamette University, and private donors have provided additional support.

Last updated: December 3, 2015

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