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FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR Group hopes to educate public about conflict

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Beginning Jan. 3, people can sign up to get 'reports' from the front lines.
YOUNGSTOWN -- It was 250 years ago that this region was embroiled in the conflict known as the French and Indian War, and a Pittsburgh-based organization is making an effort to educate the public about the conflict.
Much of that war was fought in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, pitting colonists against the French and their American Indian allies.
French and Indian War 250 Inc. is trying to bring some of that local history to life.
Beginning Jan. 3, teachers, students and the general public can sign up for a series of free eight weekly "field reports" from a fictitious "embedded journalist" with the Colonial forces.
These field reports are starting along with a number of initiatives to commemorate the war's 250th anniversary, including the showing of "The War That Made America," a new film to air on PBS stations Jan. 18 and 25.
French and Indian War 250, Inc., an initiative of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, is developing and coordinating programs and educational resources to commemorate the French and Indian War throughout the decade.
War correspondent
The weekly updates on the progress of the fighting will come from a fictitious 18th-century journalist similar to the modern-day embedded journalist.
"Making history relevant is perhaps the most effective way to understand its importance," said Debbie Corll, project manager for French and Indian War 250, Inc. "By using an in-the-field perspective we hope to excite interest in this period in history among a variety of audiences, including teachers, students, history enthusiasts and others."
The reports come from Phineus Cobb, a fictional newspaper reporter, and are written in the style of the time with some adaptation to account for a wide variety of registrant reading levels.
Cobb is the creation of Dr. David Dixon, professor of American history at Slippery Rock University, who actually wrote the accounts.
The reports will cover several pivotal and poignant events that demonstrate not only the short-term effects they had in determining the course of the war, but also hint at the fact that without the events begun in 1754 near present-day Pittsburgh, there would not have been the American Revolution in 1776.
Aimed at educators
It is hoped the program will be of interest to educators, and particularly middle-school teachers, as it will provide their pupils with a unique experience of this period in history.
As a thank-you for their participation, all teachers will be entered to win one of several standards-based curriculum kits, including "Becoming George Washington," a curriculum resource for elementary and secondary teachers that features George Washington's own writings.
To register to receive the field reports or find out more about the embedded journalist program and historic sites associated with the war, visit, or call (412) 281-4783, Ext. 3135.