Jay Buckley, an associate professor of history, recently earned the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation’s Meritorious Achievement Award for his contributions to Lewis and Clark scholarship.
“I was both humbled and honored to be selected to receive the award,” Buckley said. “It is very gratifying to spend a decade of your life doing something you feel is really important and to have others recognize that effort as something significant and meaningful.”
The Meritorious Achievement Award recognizes outstanding scholarship or long-term contributions to promoting Lewis and Clark scholarship and only one award is given each year. Buckley’s contributions include a book about Meriwether Lewis, By His Own Hand?: The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis, and more recently a book about William Clark, William Clark: Indian Diplomat.
While most books about Clark relate adventures he had with Meriwether Lewis, Buckley’s biography (published in 2008) focuses on Clark after the famous expedition.
“I decided to focus my attention on William Clark’s post-expedition career as an Indian agent and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, a period of his life that was at least equally, if not more, important to the history of our country than co-leading America’s most famous expedition,” Buckley shared. “Few people know or realize that William Clark conducted and signed more treaties with American Indian nations than any other American, fully one-tenth of all the Indian treaties ratified by the U.S. Senate.”
Through analyzing Clark’s papers and treaty documents, Buckley portrays Clark’s relationship with Indians and fellow government officials in his work. Buckley’s book had previously won the 2009 Eagleton-Waters Book Award and the 2009 Missouri History Book Award from the State Historical Society of Missouri.
As a professor of history, Buckley teaches American West, United States and American Indian history courses and directs the Native American Studies minor. His research interests include fur trade, Indian-white relations, Lewis and Clark and other Western history.
He is also currently a board member of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation and chairman of the Education Committee. Buckley also helps educate teachers about American history with The Larry H. Miller Education Project and will be co-directing the American West Field Study in Idaho and Montana this June.