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UNC Native Leaders Symposium-Discussions on Self-Governance, Sovereignty, and Sustaining Vibrant Communities

February 21, 2013 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm


The symposium will give the students at Carolina an opportunity to see firsthand how modern Indian Nations work, foster dialogue about current challenges and goals for Native communities, and give tribal leaders the opportunity to discuss issues and develop relationships with other local leaders.

Format of Panels:  Three leaders per panel and each panelist will have 15 minutes to speak. It will be more of a conversational format with a discussion of each leader’s experiences in Indian Country prior to the Q&A. There will also be time for the audience to ask questions and the moderator will also have questions to ask if necessary.

Panelists:  From American Indian communities who have served in a variety of leadership settings within their communities.


9:30am:   Check-in – coffee and refreshments

10am:      Opening and Keynote:     Learn NC and Dr. Corntassel

10:30-12:00:  Session I: Self-governance and Sovereignty

  1. Jeff Corntassel (Cherokee Nation), Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor in the School of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria.  One of his areas of research on American Indigenous policy focuses on how policy has shifted from self-determination to “forced federalism,” as Indigenous nations in the United States have encountered new threats from state and local governments over such issues as taxation, gaming, and homeland security.
  2. Bill Harris (Catawba), elected Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation in Rock Hill, SC on July 23, 2011.  Bill has been involved in tribal politics for many years.  In 1997, he began fighting for the rights of the Catawba people in tribal government and for the enforcement of the Catawba Constitution. In 2009, he became the Chairperson of the Election Committee and in 2010 he became the Chairperson of the Economic Development Board. During his time as Chief, Bill has represented the tribe in many capacities including the USET Board of Directors, South Carolina Native American Advisory Committee, and RFATS Policy Committee.  He serves on the Direct Service Tribe’s Advisory Committee for Indian Health Services, and he has testified on behalf of the tribe at meetings of Congress.
  3. Karrene Wood (Monacan), Director of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, lecturer at the University of Virginia, and Monacan Tribal Council Member.  An enrolled member of the Monacan Indian Nation, Karenne serves on the Tribal Council. She has worked as an editorial assistant. real estate agent, a domestic violence victims’ advocate, and as an activist for the rights of women and American Indians and for environmental issues. She has studied at the University of Virginia and George Mason University.

12:00-1:30:  Lunch included with conference–please RSVP Chelsea Kolander by noon on Monday, February 18, 2013 kolander@email.unc.edu.

1:30-3:00Session II: Sustaining Vibrant Communities

  1. Ronny A. Bell (Lumbee), Director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, Professor of Epidemiology & Prevention at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  Dr. Bell’s primary interests are chronic disease prevalence and risk factors, with particular emphasis on ethnic minority populations.  He is Director of the Maya Angelou Research Center on Minority Health. Dr. Bell served as the Principal Investigator of the HEARTQUEST project, an NHLBI-funded contract serving as one of six vanguard Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Centers (EDUCs) nationwide.
  2. Karla Martin (Poarch Creek), Assistant Professor of Educational Administration and Foundations at Illinois State University.  She serves as the Chair of the Poarch Creek Education Advisory Committee and a member of the Poarch Creek Education Endowment Committee.  Karla has a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from The University of Alabama and a Masters and PhD in Education: Culture, Curriculum, and Change from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Currently, she is in her second year as an Assistant Professor at Illinois State University where she teaches historical foundations of education to pre-service teachers and a graduate Indigenous education course.
  3. Julie Reed (Cherokee Nation), Assistant Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011.  Reed was the recipient of the Sequoyah Dissertation Writing Fellowship from the graduate school at UNC.  She is currently at work on her manuscript Ten Times Better: Cherokee Nation Social Services.  She also serves on the Board of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, Tennessee and serves as co-advisor to the Native American Student Association and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.   Reed’s work with the Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism Division has led her to incorporate public history into her courses at UT-Knoxville. Last spring, she led a senior research seminar for History majors titled The Hermitage: History, “Social Forgetting” and the Complicated Vocation of Public Historians that required students to produce an original primary research paper and a public history component.  Reed is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.


*Follow the symposium discussion on Twitter: @FNGCChapelHill  @LEARNNC  #nlschat


February 21, 2013
9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Carolina Club at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center
Stadium Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 United States
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First Nations Graduate Circle