Beloved Man and "An elder in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Jerry Wolfe is a master of Cherokee stories and other traditions that are central to Cherokee culture in western North Carolina. A recipient of the 2003 North Carolina Heritage Award, he recounts traditional Cherokee legends and tells stories about his experiences growing up in Cherokee: the boarding schools, the stickball games, and his grandfather's experiences in the Civil War. Through cultural outreach programs at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, he shares these stories with thousands of visitors to the Qualla Boundary. Wolfe is widely recognized for his knowledge of the sport of stickball, and announces the stickball games held annually at the Cherokee Fall Festival. In addition to providing commentary, he educates spectators about stories and traditions of this Cherokee game." (NC Arts Council)
Tom Belt is the Western Carolina University Cherokee Language Program Coordinator.
Mr. Belt is working to create a state-of-the-art Cherokee language program at the
university level. Mr. Belt teaches the first four semesters of Cherokee language
and he co-teaches courses on Cherokee grammar and Cherokee language literature. Mr.
Belt, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is a fluent Cherokee speaker and
he works closely with speakers from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to produce
culturally-based Cherokee language learning material. Before joining the Cherokee
Language Program, Mr. Belt worked as a counselor's aide in a local treatment center
for native youths with chemical dependencies. He attended the Universities of Oklahoma
and Colorado and taught the Cherokee language at the Cherokee elementary school in
Cherokee, NC. Mr. Belt has also served as a consultant to various cultural archives
and to various indigenous language programs in public schools and on the post-secondary
T.J. HOLLAND (EBCI) –Cultural Resources Manager, Kituwah Preservation and Education
Program (KPEP), Director and Curator, Junaluska Memorial and Museum, Robbinsville.
Holland serves on the advisory board for the American Philosophical Society’s Building
Bridges Program. He is a member of the Snowbird Cherokee community and is a frequent
referee of Snowbird stickball games. Holland is also an artist with a BFA from WCU.
Tim Will (Catalpa Institute) has been involved in community and economic development since 1973 when he was a project manager for the Columbus, Ohio Model Cities program while simultaneously attaining his Masters degree in City and Regional Planning. He has worked on four continents managing and directing projects as diverse as designing and implementing refugees camps in Honduras, post typhoon reconstruction in the Fiji Islands, directing and founding two Community Development Corporations to revitalize and rebuild urban neighborhoods in New Orleans, designing and directing telecommunications projects in North and South America, guiding the development of a small town in Florida as Mayor and directing an Appalachian rural economic development program. The latter effort, which created a program linking farmers in Rutherford County with restaurants in Charlotte, was nationally recognized, winning the Skoll Foundation’s 2009 Purpose Prize and Hewlett Packard’s Hackborn Award for the use of Technology in Social Entrepreneurship. He is currently a partner in Catalpa Institute, an Asheville-based consulting firm specializing in cross-cultural negotiation, environmental strategy, and social equity projects.
Joe-Ann McCoy, PhD, serves as director of the NC Arboretum Germplasm Repository (TNCAGR) in Asheville, NC. Her role is to establish and conserve diverse seed collections of native and ethnobotanical species representing a broad range of diversity and to curate those collections through the long-term storage of seed and plants. Joe-Ann completed her doctoral research in Plant Physiology from Clemson University which focused on the development of seed, rhizome, and propagation protocols for Actaea racemosa L. (black cohosh). Her M.S. was focused on developing propagation methods for Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's Wort). Prior to NCAGR she served as medicinal plant curator for the USDA NCRPIS. She has worked with a wide variety of southeastern native and ethnobotanical plant research for the past 17 years. (Image source)
James Veteto is an environmental anthropologist specializing in ethnoecology, agrobiodiversity
studies, sustainable agricultural systems, climate change, food and culture, and alternative
political ecologies. He is assistant professor of anthropology at WCU. He is a member
of the Cherokee Studies program and has conducted research with the Eastern Cherokee
on documenting heirloom vegetable varieties and oral histories, investigating farmer
decision making, and engaging in collaborative biodiversity conservation.
Dr. Veteto will talk about his ethnoecology research in Cherokee documenting heirloom vegetable varieties and engaging in collaborative biodiversity conservation. He will also talk about potential future research documenting community perceptions of climate change to inform a variety of tribal programs.
Kathy Mathews specializes in flowering plant systematics, which seeks to explain patterns of diversity among the flowering plants. Mathews mainly studies problems in the taxonomy, biogeography and evolutionary relationships of southeastern and southern Appalachian plant groups. Recent work with collaborators includes the phylogenetic systematics of Sabatia (swamp pink) and Bartonia (screwstem), both of the gentian family, as well as population genetics and phytochemistry of Actaea racemosa (black cohosh). Mathews and her graduate students have studied the systematics of Southern Appalachian saxifrages (Micranthes), hybridization in the Trillium erectum complex, and growth characteristics of rivercane (Arundinaria gigantea). Their research tools include field work, herbarium studies, molecular phylogenetics of DNA sequences, and DNA fragment analysis. (WCU)
Bevelry Collins is an Associate Professor in Biology at WCU who received her Ph.D. in Botany from Rutgers University in 1985. She is a botanist and teaches General Ecology, Ecological Co-Adaptations, Physiological and Ecosystem Ecology, and Community and Landscape Dynamics at WCU. Her research and recent publications concern plant communities and ecology management.
Joey Owle (EBCI) earned a master's program at NC State University in agricultural ecology and sustainable agriculture. He also "earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Environmental Soil Science. While at UT, he received the Biosystems, Engineering and Soil Science Undergraduate with Professional Promise Award." (Cherokee Preservation Foundation) "Today, Owle coordinates Cherokee Choices' Farm to School Program as well as the organization's Healthy Roots Project, a youth gardening intensive at Kituwah Mound." (Mountain Xpress)
Adam Bigelow is a botanical consultant, a North Carolina Community Garden Partners board member and the garden manager at the Cullowhee Community Garden. For more information on the Cullowhee garden email the firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Jackson County Department of Public Health at 586-8994. (Mountain Xpress)
Tom Hatley trained as a forester and historian and is a partner in Catalpa Circle, LLC, a consulting firm based in Asheville. He has worked for more than 40 years in various roles in conservation and sustainable development, mainly in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and in New York. As Sequoyah Professor at Western Carolina University, he worked closely with the Eastern Band of Cherokee community, RTCAR and the Center for Native Health. He currently focuses on social investment, conservation of heritage landscapes, and designing cross-cultural and other collaborative efforts.
Bonnie Steckleberg started her first organic garden in 1967 with the advice of her father-in-law, Henry Steckleberg. He influenced her to garden organically when he said "I don't want to eat no poison." That made perfect sense to her and she has been gardening that way for the last 48 years, 26 of those years, here in North Carolina.
A native of Cherokee, N.C., and an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI),Roseanna S. Belt has been director of Western's Cherokee Center since 2001. From child to community leader, the road she followed has indeed been long and winding. Taking her far from her childhood home, it ultimately led her to return with a wealth of knowledge and education to share.
Tommy Cabe (EBCI) has been employed with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians since
He started working in the air monitoring program as an air quality technician. In 2001 he moved into the watershed coordinator position. In 2002 he assumed the environmental planner position where he managed his previous positions projects along with the responsibilities of the environmental planner position.
Currently he is the Tribes Forest Resource Specialist and has been since 2005. In this position he has implemented projects as they pertain to Tribal forestry as well as assist in inter agency collaboration in the local region of Western North Carolina. Tommy grew up in the Bird town Community in Cherokee, N.C... He is an active outdoorsman and greatly appreciates the conservation efforts of all to sustain the quality of health of all the local natural resources.
ᏎᎳᏂ Shirley Oswalt is a member of the Eastern Band and a Cherokee language and culture participant.
She is a member of the Cherokee Language Consortium. She teaches Cherokee language
and culture at Robbinsville High School and in the community.
ᎺᎵ Mary Brown is a member of the Eastern Band and a Cherokee language and culture participant. She is a member of the Cherokee Language Consortium. She teaches Cherokee language and culture at Swain High School and in the community.
ᎠᎳᏂ Janie Brown is a member of the Eastern Band and a Cherokee language and culture participant. She is a member of the Cherokee Language Consortium. She has long worked to promote Cherokee language and culture and she grew up fishing, gardening, and preparing food.
ᎾᏂ Nannie Taylor is a member of the Eastern Band and a Cherokee language and culture participant. She is a member of the Cherokee Language Consortium. She has long worked to promote Cherokee language and culture. She is a Cherokee language song writer and singer.
ᎠᏲᏍᏗ Sallie Arch Smoker is a member of the Eastern Band and a Cherokee language and culture participant. She is a member of the Cherokee Language Consortium. She has long worked to promote Cherokee language. She sings and teaches Cherokee hymns.
ᎨᏯᏔ ᎧᎹᎹ Lou Jackson is a member of the Eastern Band and a Cherokee language and culture participant. She is a member of the Cherokee Language Consortium. She teaches Cherokee language and culture in the community. She maintains a large garden.
ᎣᏂᏔ Onita Bush is a member of the Eastern Band and a Cherokee language and culture participant. She has long worked to promote Cherokee language and culture. She fondly recalls farming and food preparation with her family.
ᎤᏁᎦ ᏥᏍᏚ Hartwell Francis is the Director of the Cherokee Language Program at Western Carolina University. He assists the Cherokee Language Consortium and works to promulgate the Cherokee language. He enjoys mowing the lawn.