American Indian and Indigenous Studies Series


An authentic opportunity to engage in dialogue around the lived realities of native and indigenous people and to deconstruct and challenge popular stereotypes.


Dr. George D Pappas ESQ

Lecture: "The Literary and Legal Genealogy of Native American Dispossession: From the Marshall Trilogy to Standing Rock"

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Noon, Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall

This work offers a unique interpretation of how literary and public discourses influenced three U.S. Supreme Court Rulings written by Chief Justice John Marshall with respect to Native Americans. These cases, Johnson v. M’Intosh (1823), Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832), collectively known as the Marshall Trilogy, have formed the legal basis for the dispossession of indigenous populations throughout the Commonwealth. Exploring the literary genesis of Marshall’s judgments, George Pappas draws on the work of Michel Foucault, Edward Said and Homi Bhabha, to analyze how these formative U.S. Supreme Court rulings blurred the distinction between literature and law.

The 1491s in Residency, February 22 & 23


The 1491s sketch-comedy group, a self-described “gaggle of Indians chock full of cynicism,” claims to have mooned Columbus when he landed. The 1491s got their start when the father of Dallas Goldtooth married the mother of Migizi Pensoneau. Growing up, the two boys made videos for fun. Eventually, the three other members asked to join in. Their mission is simply to make themselves and their audience laugh, and to encourage critical discussion about some social norms within the Native community. More recently, the 1491s have appeared on The Daily Show, and will land at UNC Asheville as part of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Series.

Learn more about the 1491s and watch their videos on this Youtube channel and on Facebook.

Residency Schedule

An Evening with The 1491s
Wednesday, Feb 22, 7pm, Lipinsky Auditorium
Ticketed performance.

Master class with The 1491s
Thursday, Feb 23, noon, Mountain View Room, Sherrill Center
Free & open to the public.


Highsmith 104
Swannanoa Room
March 9th, 2016
12:00 to 1:30 PM

Pratt’s Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (1992) marked a turning point in literary analysis, and lighted new methodologies to understand cultural crossroads. Pratt has been President of the Modern Language Association, 2003, and she is currently Professor Emerita of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU.

Rosaldo’s Culture and Truth (1989) opened a space for subjectivity in the Social Science, and revealed the complexities of “we” and “they” in cultural analysis. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis.

Sponsored by Belk Professorship in the Humanities, and the Departments of Modern Languages and Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, and Political Science.

Miguel Rocha

Tuesday, March 21
5:30pm, Whitman Room, Ramsey Library

Rocha is a PhD in Romance Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Awarded with the prestigious Premio Casa de las Americas 2016, he is a renown Colombian scholar, writer and educator, who has dedicated his career in bringing together indigenous writers from the Abya-Yala (the Americas) through publications, festivals and literary criticism. On March 21, 2017, he will be presenting the awarded book, Mingas de la palabra, textualidades oralitegráficas y visiones de cabeza en las oralituras y literaturas indígenas contemporáneas (Word´s Mingas, Oralitegraphic Textualities and Upside Down Visions in Contemporary Indigenous Oralitures and Literatures).
Rocha’s scholarly work covers not just ancient traditions from the Andes, such as textile writings (chumbe), and community institutions (minga), but also their relationship with the contemporary social and cultural movements.

See more info about Rocha’s prize:

Languages in Action and Culture

Thursday, March 23
12:00pm - 3:00pm, University Quad

FALL 2016

Cherokee Stickball Demonstration

Thursday, September 15, 2016
5 p.m., Campus intramural fields

The Wa Le Lu team from Cherokee returns.


“Three Days in Sacred Stone Camp: DAPL and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe”

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
12 - 1 p.m., Alumni Hall, Highsmith Union

Gilliam Jackson (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), Trey Adcock, Ph.D.(Cherokee Nation) and Juan Sanchez Martinez, Ph.D. (Colombia) traveled to North Dakota to deliver supplies for the Sacred Stone Camp at the junction of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers on the weekend of September 2-3-4. They will share their perspectives, photos, and video clips on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 at 12-1pm in Alumni Hall on the campus of UNC Asheville.  They will share video clips of interviews with Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Tim Mintz, Standing Rock Youth Council member Gracey Claymore and many others.  They welcome comments and questions from the public and the community, including EBCI members who have visited the encampment.
The Standing Rock Sioux are protecting the waters of the Missouri River as well as their sacred sites from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  More than one hundred tribes have committed their support. For more information go to and

Gilliam Jackson is a fluent speaker of the Cherokee language who grew up in the Snowbird Community; he is also teaching Cherokee language as Adjunct Professor at University of North Carolina at Asheville.  Trey Adcock, Ph.D. is the Director of American Indian Outreach and an Assistant Professor at UNC-A.  They were joined on their trip by Juan Sanchez Martinez PhD, Assistant Professor of Spanish, who has worked on issues of water protection with indigenous people in North and South America.


(CANCELED) Research Protocols on the Qualla Boundary

This event has been canceled and will be rescheduled during spring semester. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016
12 - 1 p.m., Laurel Forum

Cherokee Medical and Cultural IRB committees discussion.   

2015-16 Series Events

Intertribal Stickball Game Exhibition & Demonstrations

Intertribal Stickball Game Exhibition and Demonstrations

September 24

Freeman Owle (EBCI) Storytelling
4-5 p.m. | Mullen Park fire ring

In partnership with the UNC Asheville Literature & Language Department

3rd Annual Stickball Game featuring Wa Le Lu "Hummingbirds"
5 p.m. | UNC Asheville Intermural Fields

Panel on Native Health Issues

September 30

6:30-8pm | Mountain View Room, Sherrill Center

The panel will discuss ways in which community-based traditional knowledge can be integrated into all facets of Native health care  to promote wellness and balance for Indigenous peoples. Specifically, speakers will focus on issues related to Native youth, Elder Care, Food Sovereignty, and Chronic Illness prevention amongst Cherokee populations.

Sponsors: The Center for Native Health, Native American Student Association, UNC Asheville's Health and Wellness Department, Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs

Speaker Bio's

Lisa LeflerDr Lisa Lefler is director of Western’s Culturally Based Native Health Programs, a collaborative program with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and WCU’s Colleges of Health and Human Sciences and Arts and Sciences.  The Native Health Certificate reflects a new national model, involving Native communities from the ground up to educate health professionals regarding Native cultures to improve health care delivery for indigenous people. Dr. Lefler’s other interests include Indian youth and drug/alcohol abuse, diabetes and health-related issues concerning stress, historic grief and trauma, and applying Indigeous science to contemporary issues.

Dallas PettigrtewDallas Pettigrew (Cherokee Nation tribal citizen) holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma, with an emphasis in Administration and Community Practice.  Dallas is a 2011-2012 World Forum Foundation Global Leader for Young Children, a member of National Indian Child Care Association and past member of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy.  Dallas’s work experience includes many years in Cherokee Nation’s Department of Children, Youth and Family Services, Human Services Administration, as well as Education and Leadership, where he served as Director of Building Leaders.

Vickie BradleyVickie Lambert Bradley (EBCI)  BSN, RN, MPH  is the Deputy Health Officer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band and has worked with the Tribe’s health system for 14 years. Vickie received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Western Carolina University and her Masters of Public Health from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Under her direction, the Eastern Band of Cherokee have consolidated and expanded services to create an integrated Public Health and Human organization. Vickie also provided the leadership to commit the Tribe to seeking Public Health accreditation by completing the first Tribal Health Assessment and a Tribal Health Improvement Plan.  Prior to her tenure with the Eastern Band, Vickie was the Director at the Unity Healing Center, an Indian Health Service agency.

Joey OwleJoey Owle (EBCI) resides in the Wolf Town community on the Qualla Boundary. He is a 2006 graduate of Cherokee High School. Joey continued his education at The University of Tennessee-Knoxville and NC State University, graduating from both institutions, with a BS in Environmental and Soil Science and MCS in Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture, in 2011 and 2013, respectively. He currently serves as a mentor in the Jones Bowman Leadership program, on the advisory council of the Cherokee Youth Council, is a member of the Community Health Advisory Council through Cherokee Indian Hospital, and has be recently appointed to the Regional Tribal Conservation Advisory Council

Arming SistersArming Sisters

November 19


NASA and SpeakUP are partnering to bring Arming Sisters  for a workshop and talk featuring Patty Stonefish.

This non-profit focuses on bringing awareness to violence against Native Women.

More details coming soon...

2014-15 Series Events

Intertribal Stickball Game Exhibition and Demonstrations

Sept. 4, 6 p.m.
UNC Asheville Intermural Fields
Free and open to public

A Tribe Called Red

Electric Pow Wow
Featuring Atse Kituwah Academy and Will Tushka
Sept. 24, 7 p.m.
Lipinsky Auditorium

Bursting forth from Canada’s capital, native producer/DJ crew A Tribe Called Red is producing a truly unique sound that’s impacting the global electronic scene. Since 2010 the group – currently made up of DJ NDN, 2oolman and DJ Bear Witness – has been mixing traditional pow wow vocals and drumming with cutting-edge electronic music and powerful visuals. This performance is part of the UNC Asheville Native American Speaker and Performance Series.

The opening act will feature students from New Kituwah Academy, the Cherokee immersion school, singing popular songs in Cherokee. Will Tushka, a member of the Warriors of Ankituwah who hails from Big Cove community in Cherokee, NC, will dance for several songs with A Tribe Called Red on stage.

2013-14 Series Events

Paul Chaat Smith

Keynote Speaker
Sept. 20, 12:30 p.m.
Highsmith Union, Alumni Hall
Free & open to the public

As associate curator at Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, author and essayist Smith focuses on the contemporary landscape of American Indian politics and culture. His most recent book, Everything You Know About Indians is Wrong, is a collection of essays - funny and painful - about the ways Indian stereotypes infiltrate culture. 

Intertribal Stickball Game Exhibition and Demonstrations

Sept. 5th, 4 p.m.
UNC Asheville Intermural Fields
Free and open to public

Chad Smith, Former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation

Nov. 12, 12:30 p.m.
Sherrill Center, Mountain View Room
Free and open to the public

Chad Smith, the former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, is a soft spoken strategic thinker who has been a powerful force in building businesses and working toward self-sufficient Native American nations. During his tenure as Principal Chief from 1999-2011, the Cherokee Nation grew its assets, increased healthcare services, created 6,000 jobs and dramatically advanced education, language and cultural preservation. Chief Smith's success is a direct result of his principle-based leadership organization and his "Point A to Point B" leadership model. This model works with business, government and people in everyday life situations.

Warriors of AniKituhwa

March 25th, 12:30 p.m.
University quad
Free and open to the public

Designated as official cultural ambassadors by the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, The Warriors of AniKituhwa, a Cherokee dance group, have been making history by recreating Cherokee dances described in 1762, including the War Dance and the Eagle Tail dance. They are revitalizing Cherokee dance by bringing back other dances from the past, by doing research, and by offering dance workshops for their community. The Warriors of AniKituhwa educate people about the significance of their dances, their clothing, and Cherokee history and culture.

Principal Chief Michell Hicks

April 11th, 12:30pm
Highsmith Union, Alumni Hall
Free and open to the public

UNC Asheville is honored to welcome Principal Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians as keynote speaker to the forthcoming 2013-14 Native American Speaker Series. Born and raised in Cherokee, North Carolina, Chief Hicks serves on a joint tribal, state and local government committee focused on homeland security, and boards of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, National Congress of the American Indian, National Indian Gaming Association, and several other organizations. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, North Carolina Certified Public Accountants and the Government Finance Officers Association.

Reclaiming Sacred Ground Film Series at West Asheville Library

held one Wednesday each month from January - April, 2014 at the West Asheville Library

As part of an Engaged Collaborative Humanities Grant and in partnership with the Buncombe County Library System, UNC Asheville professors Trey Adcock, Reid Chapman and Sarah Judson will present a series of four films by Native American film makers.

Reclaiming Sacred Ground: Native American Self-Representation in Film is a 4-part film and discussion series at the West Asheville Library beginning in February.

The full series schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, February 5

Smoke Signals
Smoke Signals, the first feature film made by a Native American crew and creative team. Scripted by Sherman Alexie, this award-winning movie concerns two young men from the Coeur D’Alene Reservation in Idaho who have very different memories of Arnold Joseph, a former resident of the reservation who has just died. Journeying together to Phoenix to retrieve the dead man’s ashes, the young men confront the profound reality of Arnold’s legacy and their own identity as Native Americans. (Running time for the film is 89 minutes, with discussion to follow).

Wednesday, February 26

Barking Water
Barking Water is a 2009 independent feature film written and directed by Sterlin Harjo that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  Frankie is dying. Irene hasn't forgiven him. And they are racing against time to find their way home. Frankie needs help and Irene is the one he turns to. He must go home one last time. And, like so many times before, Irene is extending herself beyond her common sense. The two set out on a journey that becomes more than getting home; confronting the past, love, understanding, and self discovery. Barking Water is a tale of great love that looks at what brings us all together. It's a tale of home...and what it takes to get there. (Running time for the film is 85 minutes, with discussion to follow).

Wednesday, March 19

The Fast Runner
The Fast Runner is a 2001 Canadian film directed by Zacharias Kunuk. It was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in Inuktitut. Set in the ancient past, the film retells an Inuit legend passed down through centuries of oral tradition, of an evil spirit causing strife in the community and one warrior's endurance and battle of its menace. (Running time for the film is 172 minutes, with discussion to follow).

Wednesday, April 23

The Cherokee Word for Water
The Cherokee Word for Water is a 2013 film about the work that led Wilma Mankiller to become the first modern female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. The film is inspired by the true story of the struggle for, opposition to, and ultimate success of a rural Cherokee community to bring running water to their families by using the traditional concept of “gadugi “– working together to solve a problem.  Set in the early 1980s, The Cherokee Word For Water begins in the homes of a rural Oklahoma community where many houses lack running water and others are little more than shacks. After centuries of being dehumanized and dispossessed of their land and identity, the people no longer feel they have power or control over their lives or future.  Visit the film's website for more information. (Running time for the film is 92 minutes, with discussion to follow).