Author recounts Puget Sound Indian Wars at special Humanities Washington event

Author Michael Schein will give the lecture
Author Michael Schein will give the lecture 'Bones Beneath Our Feet: The Puget Sound Indian Wars of 1855-56' at a special presentation June 11 at the Waterfront Park Community Center.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center

Poet, legal scholar and author Michael Schein will present "Bones Beneath Our Feet: The Puget Sound Indian Wars of 1855-56" in a free talk next week sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center and Humanities Washington.

The free event takes place at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 11 at the Waterfront Park Community Center.

Schein will explore the period from the first European-American settlement in Puget Sound to the execution of Chief Leschi, leader of the Native Americans in the Indian War of 1855-56.

It is a story of extremes: great courage, cultural misunderstanding, interracial love, heroism and cruelty. The discussion will cover the trial of Leschi, and will discuss the limits of constitutional protections in the face of hysteria and fear (with marked parallels to the War on Terror).

Participants will also explore the causes of the war, cultural misunderstandings and the consequences of fearing a stereotyped “other.” Because there is no simple “right” answer, attendees may also begin to empathize with both sides in a long-ago struggle.

Schein is the author of two historical novels, a play, an urban fantasy novel and many poems. His novels include "Bones Beneath Our Feet," a historical novel set around the Puget Sound that was nominated for a Washington State Book Award, and "Just Deceits," a historical courtroom mystery. Schein taught American legal history for 15 years at the University of Puget Sound and Seattle University, which is where he first became fascinated by the story of how the “Boston tribe” gained control of Puget Sound.

A frequent and lively teacher of history, poetry and fiction, Schein also serves as Director of LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop. His poetry is supported by a grant from 4Culture, and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

For more information on the program, contact Eileen Magnuson at 206-842-1616 or,

Humanities Washington sparks conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across the state. For more information about Humanities Washington, visit

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