UH West Oʻahu graduate Eli K.M. Foster won the Herbert F. Margulies Prize for best paper in American history at the 2016 Annual Hawaiʻi Regional Meeting of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society for his paper “Mount Tabor Indian Community: Living in Two Worlds (A Mixed Race Indian Community Survives and Thrives).” The meeting took place on March 19 at Hawaiʻi Pacific University’s Aloha Tower Marketplace campus.
In the paper, Foster records and perpetuates the history and legacy of the multi-cultural Mount Tabor Indian Community in Rusk, Texas – the only group of traditionally southeastern American Indians located outside Oklahoma or South Carolina. He traces the community from its Cherokee, Chickasaw, Chocktaw, and Yowani roots through various removals, relocations, and struggles for recognition, and documents the strategies and tactics the community has used to survive and thrive into the present. As an at-large member of the community, Foster plans to continue and expand on this research while pursuing a master’s degree in history at UH Mānoa this fall.
Foster completed the award-winning paper as his senior thesis under the supervision of Dr. Monica LaBriola before graduating from UH West Oʻahu in fall 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in humanities with a concentration in history.