The West Branch is the lesser known of the Susquehanna’s two branches; this summer Bucknell senior, Melanie Olsen (majors: environmental studies and comparative humanities) set out to discover more about the region’s early cultural history through her involvement with the Susquehanna Writer’s Institute. Through the institute, Melanie explored and analyzed archives that spanned from European colonization through the end of the nineteenth century. Points of contact between Eurpoean settlers and Native American tribes was the primary objective of her work.
After thorough research, Melanie discovered that one area, a stretch of river along the West Branch, held cultural significance to the Native Americans (the area is near present day Lock Haven).
Throughout the research process, Melanie found that there is much more research to be done on the West Branch of the Susquehanna. Information on this part of the river during the contact period (possibly subsequent eras) is limited and further research would be beneficial. This coming summer (2014), the sites identified through Melanie’s research will be mapped. Would you like to get involved with projects like Melanie’s or the Susquehanna Writer’s Institute? Click here to check out how you can get involved.