UNF professor receives prestigious fellowship

By: Deanna Bettineschi , Action News Jax

Updated:

An associate professor of history at the University of North Florida was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, to support her research on the Yamasees.

“The NEH grant allows me since the past August through this August to stop teaching just for a year and to really focus on writing my story,” said Dr. Denise Bossy.

She’s writing a book  on them, and is the only scholar in the nation working with the present-day Yamasee community.

“I’m very lucky there’s a community two hours away from Jax that I’ve connected with and spent a lot of time connecting with them,” said Bossy.

Bossy says there is very little written about these Native Americans and many scholars thought they were extinct by 1763.

She says there’s a reason for that: They were at war with the British in 1715.

“The British in particular tried to exterminate the Yamasees and when that was unsuccessful they tried to rhetorically do it through writing say they were gone,” said Bossy.

Dr. Bossy says  the Yamasees moved to different places across South Carolina and Florida, trying  to stay hidden.

She says that’s one of the reasons its so important to recover their history and write about a Native American community that deserves recognition.

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