This is Problematic!

By Conner Prairie Museum

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.

Category: History

Open in Apple Podcasts

Open RSS feed

Open Website

Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 5
Reviews: 0


Conner Prairie's favorite research associates bring you the straight up facts of the history still affecting us today! We hold no punches getting straight down to the problems of the past and their ramifications. Come sit with us, and our guests, as we take a journey through problematic history!

Episode Date
Episode 12: A U-turn on Sesame Street with Dr Charlene Fletcher

Dr Fletcher is back for our final episode of the season! The history of Sesame Street is the topic of today’s conversation. Back in 1969 when the show was launched it was focused on underserved children to supplement absent preschool services. However, today it’s been moved behind a paywall. So, let’s figure out how we got to Sesame Street and where it’s headed…

Show Notes:

Dr Charlene Fletcher:

Her website:


You can read a chapter of her work here:


Keep an eye out for her upcoming book: Confined Femininity: Race, Gender, and Incarceration in Kentucky, 1865-1920 from University of North Carolina Press

Our Sources:

Greene, Bryan. “The Unmistakable Black Roots of Sesame Street”, Smithsonian Magazine (November 7th, 2019), accessed at ‘“Sesame Street” Debuts’, This Day in History, accessed at,year%2Dolds%20prepare%20for%20kindergarten.


Lepore, Jill. “How we got to Sesame Street.” The New Yorker (May 11th, 2020), accessed at

Tierney, Joan D. “The Miracle on Sesame Street”, Phi Delta Kappan (January, 1971), Vol. 52, No. 5, accessed at

Jan 04, 2023
Episode 11: Museum Education with Brandy Whitaker

Brandy Whitaker, Conner Prairie's Director of Education, shares her 10+ years in the Education field in this discussion about Museum Education. Together we contemplate how Museums and their Educational philsophies fit within the wider Education landscape. 

Show Notes:

Brandy Whitaker:  


The preschool that Brandy & team created here at Conner Prairie:


Link to Teacher Retreats at Conner Prairie:


A beautiful blog post by Brandy on “Unlearning” & “Belonging”:

Resources mentioned in the podcast:

The work of Wes Bruce:

Dec 12, 2022
Episode 10: Peace out Big Boy!: His Accidency John Tyler

Our first Presidential episode of This is Problematic featuring the (not so) well known US President John Tyler (AKA "His Accidency")! Today's trip through the problematic life of President Tyler is guided by your favorite hosts Hannah & Easton, as well as special guests Dylan Rawles (Curatorial Assistant at Conner Prairie) and Ryan Shank (Director of Digital Experiences). 


Edward P. Crapol. John Tyler: The Accidental President. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).

Nov 23, 2022
Episode 8: Halloween: Leave the dead alone!

Join Hannah and Easton as they travel across the globe exploring why Halloween becomes an opportunity to fetishize the dead, and the very scary roads this leads down. 


Buffenstein, Alyssa. “Spend a Truly Bizarre Halloween Night in the Catacombs of Paris,” Artnet News. Accessed at


Harrap, Caroline. “Happy Kataloween: the spooky celebration in the Paris catacombs,” The

Guardian. Accessed at


Les Catacombes De Paris. Site History. Accessed at


Stone, Phillip R. “A dark tourism spectrum: Towards a typology of death and macabre related tourism sites, attractions and exhibitions,” Tourism Journal (June 1st 2006).


UNESCO. “Genocide memorial sites: Nyamata, Murambi, Bisesero and Gisozi”. Accessed at

Usborne, Simon. “Dark tourism: when tragedy meets tourism,” National Geographic, July 15, 2021. Accessed at

Nov 14, 2022
Episode 9: Dale Wrong Burgess: Indiana's most problematic journalist?

In 1966 "Just us Hoosiers: And how we got that way" was released. Dale Wright Burgess had worked for Indiana's Associated Press since 1939. During that time he slowly compiled 'historical' articles. These articles together became "Just us Hoosiers". For his work across his career, including this book, he was highly awarded including being admitted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Today's podcast explores the problems with his writing and questions the praise he has recieved. 


Dale Wright Burgess. Just us Hoosiers: And how we got that way. Indiana: Unified College Press, 1966. 

Gary C. Olson. “Dale Wright Burgess”. Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Accessed at

Nov 14, 2022
Episode 7: Gentrification in Indianapolis with Kisha Tandy and Paula Brooks

We are grateful to be joined by the incredible Kisha Tandy MLIS, who is an Assistant Curator at the Indiana State Museum, and Paula Brooks, an activist here in the city of Indianapolis, a Program Manager at the Hoosier Environmental Council and a lifelong member of the community of Indianapolis. Today they are talking with us about their experiences of how Indianapolis has changed over recent years due to Gentrification, and how measures can be taken to resist and reclaim spaces. 

Kisha Tandy:

Kisha Tandy’s Bio at IUPUI:

The Canal Area Research Class Project she helped bring to life that we discussed on the podcast:

A driving tour of African American History in Indianapolis with Kisha from CSPAN in 2019: 

Paula Brooks:

Paula Brooks’s Bio at Hoosier Environmental Council:

The Hoosier Environmental Council:

The Environmental Leadership Program:

Tours for you to take:

Through2Eyes (led by Sampson Levingston) has regular tours of Black History in Indianapolis including neighborhood tours of Martindale, Irvington, Butler-Tarkington, Fountain Square and Indiana Avenue. A link to his website where you can see availability and buy tickets is here:

In February 2021 and 2022 Kisha led a Black History Gallery Tour at the Indiana State Museum-keep an eye out for the 2023 version. 


“A Conversation with Wildstyle,” Central Indiana Community Foundation. (April 22, 2021)

“Gentrify: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”,

Historic Ransom Place: Tour, Dedication Ceremonies, and Dessert Fete. Freetown Village: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, 1992. 

Oct 13, 2022
Episode 6: Mekinges with Sara Schumacher

Conner Prairie's Curator of Native American History & Life is joining us to talk about the story of Mekinges. Mekinges was a Lenape woman who lived on the land that is now Conner Prairie at the turn of the 19th century. She was William Conner's first wife and had six children with him before experiencing removal with her community. We explore how her story has been told in the past and the changes being made to better share her experience with the world.


Sara Schumacher: 

Who is Sara?

Sara is a recent graduate of the MA Curatorship program at Indiana University Bloomington. 

During her time at Bloomington she worked at IUMAA in the Archeology lab with Dr Melody Pope. Their work included rehousing artifacts from the Angel Mounds Collection under the Saving America’s Treasures Grant. 

Sara also volunteered at the Wiley House Museum, whilst there she worked to maintain the historic heirloom seed saving project and documented artifacts found in the garden. 

Prior to this she undertook an Undergraduate degree also at IU Bloomington in Anthropology with a focus in Archeology and a minor Native American & Indigenous Studies. Her time there was funded by the Indiana University Provost Scholarship. Some of her activities whilst there included President of the Lambda Alpha, Kappa Chapter, Anthropological Honors Society and recipient of Mary Ann Savage Archeological Fieldwork Grant in 2019. 

She is Conner Prairie’s new Curator of Native American Life and History and you can see her official institutional introduction below.

Link to Sara’s introduction at Conner Prairie:



Charles N. Thompson. Sons of the Wilderness (Indiana Historical Society, 1937). **NOT a recommended historically objective or accurate source. Few sources exist so occasionally this is consulted to guide to primary sources. The author was a friend of the family and the narrative is deeply problematic (a topic for another podcast!!)**


John Lauritz Larson & David G. Vanderstel. “Agent of Empire: William Conner on the Indiana Frontier, 1800-1855,” Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 80, No. 4 (December 1984). Pp. 301-328.


James Brown & Rita Kohn. Long Journey Home: Oral Histories of Contemporary Delaware Indians (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2008).


Ma chun chis. Census of the Delaware Tribe of Indians Within the Delaware Agency Taken February 15th 1862. From “Delaware Trails: Some Tribal Records, 1842-1907”. From 

Multiple articles at Official Site of Delaware Tribe of Indians accessed at **This represents one group of the Lenape people, there are many groups and their stories intersect with the stories told here but are not representative of all experiences**

Oct 04, 2022
Episode 5: Pete Smith with David Heighway

David Heighway is back to talk to us about the untold story of Pete Smith. Pete was a free Black man living in Hamilton County, IN in 1820. He found himself being captured and taken into enslavement in Kentucky. We explore how his life interesected with Conner Prairie and William Conner, as well as how his story has not been told and what the next steps are for sharing it.


David Heighway:

You can find more about Hamilton East Public Library’s work in history (County Historian David Heighway’s organization) here:


Order your copy of David’s book “Hidden History of Hamilton County, Indiana” here:



David Heighway. “The Mystery of Noblesville’s First Settler: Pete Smith,” Hamilton East Public Library. Accessed at:


Jeannie Regan-Dinius, “With Bodily Force and Violence: The Escape of Peter,” Indiana Historical Bureau, 2005 (State of Indiana, 2022).


Sep 28, 2022
Episode 4: William Conner with David Heighway

Dive with us into the first of our three part series about the history of the land that Conner Prairie sits on today. Our first episode is about William Conner, the namesake of the William Conner House here at the Prairie. We are joined by Hamilton County Historian to dive into all areas of his life-the good, the bad and the ugly!


David Heighway:


You can find more about Hamilton East Public Library’s work in history (County Historian David Heighway’s organization) here:


Order your copy of David’s book “Hidden History of Hamilton County, Indiana” here:


The Conner House (come see where some of it went down!): 



  1. F. Shirts. A Primitive History of Indiana. P. 228.


Charles B Lasselle, “Old Indian Traders of Indiana” in Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 2, No. 1 (March 1906), pp. 1-13. Accessible at:


David Zeisberger, Diary of the Moravian mission at Lichtenau, Ohio. 1777-1778.

Box 37, Reel 9.  Moravian Church Archives, Bethlehem, PA. (Copy of notes accessed at Conner Prairie Archive)


Denissen Volumes. Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, Detroit, Michigan. (Copy accessed at Conner Prairie Archive)


Dylan Rawles. “William Conner and the War of 1812”. Accessed at


“Early Days” by Rev. J. C. Fletcher in “The Indianapolis Daily News”, May 11th 1881, p. 2. Accessed at


Eli Lilly Map tracing and Letter October 2, 1934. Accessible on the F Drive: 


Indianapolis Gazette December 30th 1823


Indiana DNR, “Indigenous Peoples in Indiana”, accessed at,Fox%2C%20Sauk%2C%20and%20Creek.


Indiana State Library, “Treaty of St Mary’s”, accessed at


John F. Haines, History of Hamilton County, IN, p. 161.


Larson and Vanderstal, “Agent of Empire: William Conner on the Indiana Frontier, 1800-1855”, in Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 80, Issue 4, December 1984, p. 327-328.


LEIGH DARBEE, “Fall Creek Massacre,” Encyclopedia of Indianapolis 1994,

(Revised March 2021) 


Robert F. Eldredge, Past and Present of Macomb County, Michigan. P.567-568.


Official website of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, “Removal History of the Delaware Tribe”, accessed at


Western Censor, June 18th 1823, page 58. Accessible online at 


William Conner, Indiana, U.S., Compiled Marriages 1802-1892, 30 Nov. 1820, Fayette, Indiana, accessed at


William Conner, 1840 Census, Accessed on

Sep 20, 2022
Episode 3: Native American Representations and Misrepresentations in American Media and Culture with Dr Liza Black

Join Hannah and Easton for a discussion with Dr Liza Black about Native American Representation and Misrepresentations throughout American Culture and Media. This discussion spans the range of sports to film and includes recommendations for how to diversify your media consumption. 

Dr. Liza Black:

Her IU bio:

Liza’s website:

Follow @_Liza_Black on Twitter

Order a copy of Liza’s first book “Picturing Indians: Native Americans in Film, 1941-1960” here:

Liza’s chapter about Savanna Greywind and the Abduction of Haisley Jo Greywind can be found in “The Routledge Companion to Gender and the American West” Edited by Susan Bernardin here:

Recommended social media follows (remember to follow your own interests!) but here are a few called out in the pod:

  • @connie_walker on Twitter
    • Her podcast-Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s

  • Up and Vanished podcast-Season 3 Episode 5 “Blackfeet Nation”


“Ending the Era of Harmful “Indian” Mascots.” The National Congress of American Indians, (2022)

Accessed 5/17/2022. 

“History of Progress.” (2020), 

Accessed 5/17/2022. 

S. E., Wilmer. Native American Performance and Representation. Tucson, Az: The University of Arizona Press, 2009.

Sep 16, 2022
Episode 2: The Story of Kent Brown and the Criminal Justice System with Dr Charlene Fletcher

Historian Dr Charlene Fletcher comes to the podcast, with expertise in US History and a decade of experience working in the Criminal Justice system, to explore a case from Indiana's history with Hannah and Easton. The murder of Kent Brown in 1893 rocked the small town of Winchester, Indiana. His story since then has gone largely untold, join us as we finally tell it and explore what it says about the American Criminal Justice system past and present.

Content warning: Themes of sex and violence may be disturbing and unsuitable for young audiences. Listener discretion advised.


Dr Charlene Fletcher:

Her website:

You can read a chapter of her work here:

Keep an eye out for her upcoming book: Confined Femininity: Race, Gender, and Incarceration in Kentucky, 1865-1920 from University of North Carolina Press


Our Sources: 

Brown, Kent, 1870 United States Census, 

Brown, Kent, Indiana, U.S., Marriages, 1810-2001, 5 September 1867.

Hiatt, Eleanora, 1900 United States Census,

“Indiana Parole Board,” Indiana Department of Corrections, (2022) 

Margaret Colgate Love, “Indiana Restoration of Rights & Record Relief,” COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES RESOURCE CENTER, (2020). 

“Mollie Brown,” Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, IN), 7th December 1886.

“Murder at Winchester,” Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, IN), 1st August, 1893, p. 2.

“New Barber,” Randolph Journal (Winchester, IN), Vol. 5, No. 17, 25 October 1866, p. 3.

Segraves, Malissa, Indiana, U.S., Marriages, 1810-2001,

Storms, Malissa, Indiana, U.S.,Death Certificates, 1899-2011,

Price, Samuel, 1900 United States Census,

Price, Samuel H., Indiana, U.S., Marriages, 1810-2001,

Price, Elnora, Indiana, U.S., Death Certificates 1899-2011,

“What is a “pardon” and does it get rid of my criminal record?”, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, (2022). 

Sep 01, 2022
Episode 0: Introduction to This is Problematic

Join Hannah and Easton as they introduce you to This is Problematic, a Conner Prairie podcast! Discussion of the upcoming first season of the podcast and what you have to look forward to.

Sep 01, 2022
Episode 1: First Person Interpretation with Norman Burns (Conner Prairie President & CEO)

Today Hannah and Easton are sitting down on This is Problematic, a Conner Prairie podcast, with the institution's President and CEO, Norman Burns, to discuss the topic of First Person Interpretation. As a museum that has employed this strategy for telling history this is an opportunity to get a glimpse into the past, present and future of this type of storytelling.

Show Notes:

Norman Burns:

@NormanOBurns on Twitter

His Bio on Conner Prairie’s website-

Conner Prairie-


Our sources:

Broomall, James J. “The Interpretation is a-changin’: Memory, Museums and Public History in Central Virginia,” in Journal of the Civil War Era. Vol. 3, No. 1 (March 2013), pp. 114-124.


Coslett, Daniel E. and Manish Chalana. “National Parks for New Audiences: Diversifying Interpretation for Enhanced Contemporary Relevance,” in The Public Historian, Vol. 38, No. 4 (November 2016), pp. 101-128.


Gallas, Kristin L. and James DeWolf Perry. “Developing Comprehensive and Conscientious Interpretation of Slavery at Historic Sites and Museums” in History News. Vol. 69, No. 2 (Spring 2014) pp. 1-8.


Halifax, Shawn. “McLeod Plantation Historic Site: Sowing Truth and Change” in The Public Historian. Vol. 40, No. 3 (August 2018), pp. 252-277.


Jones, Dale. “Theater 101 for Historical Interpretation,” in History News. Vol. 59. No. 3 (Summer 2004), pp. 1-8.


Moore, Nicole A. “Recollections on Interpreting Slave Life and Falling into Your Purpose,” in Radical Roots: Public History and a Tradition of Social Justice Activism. 2021, pp. 483-500.


Peers, Laura. ‘“Playing Ourselves”: First Nations and Native American Interpreters at Living History Sites,” in The Public Historian, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Autumn 1999), pp. 39-59.

Sheppard, Beverly. “Interpretation in the Outdoor Living History Museum,” in History News. Vol. 64, No. 1 (Winter 2009), pp. 15-18.


Rao, Seema. “Inclusive Interpretation Tips,” in History News, Vol. 73, No. 2 (Spring 2018), pp. 1-8.


Reid, Debra. “A Story to Pass On: Interpreting Women in Historic Sites and Open-Air Museums,” in History News. Vol. 50, No. 2 (March/ April 1995), pp. 12-15.


Whittlesey, Lee H. “The First National Park Interpreter: G.L. Henderson in Yellowstone, 1882-1902,” in Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Vol. 46, No. 1 (Spring, 1996), pp. 26-41.

Sep 01, 2022