In the Cherokee syllabary, the characters above spell "study".
Western's Cherokee Studies team is composed of experts—faculty, educators, and administrators—from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
Roseanna S. Belt, Director of the Western Carolina University-Cherokee Center
Born in Cherokee, N.C., and an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Belt has been director of the Cherokee Center since June, 2001. She received her bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she worked for 10 years as a University counselor, and earned her master’s degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. Upon returning to Cherokee, she received certification in school counseling from Western.
Belt’s current position with Western allows her to continue her work with Cherokee students. Her goal is to prepare more Cherokees for college and to encourage them to attend. Belt also serves as a clinical faculty in the School of Education and Allied Professions. The course she co-teaches is “Education In A Diverse Society.” She serves on several university committees related to diversity and minority issues, as well as working closely with the Sequoyah Distinguished Professor in building the Cherokee Studies program at Western.
Tom Belt, Cherokee Language Program Coordinator
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 level.
Robert Conley, Sequoyah Distinguished Professor in Cherokee Studies
Robert J. Conley was born December 29, 1940, in Cushing, Oklahoma. He finished high school in Wichita Falls, Texas, and then attended college there at Midwestern University, graduating in 1966 with a degree in drama and in 1968 with an M.A. in English. He has been Assistant Programs Manager for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Director of Indian Studies at Bacone College and at Morningside College, Coordinator of Indian Culture at Eastern Montana College, and Instructor of English at Southwest Missouri State University and at Northern Illinois University. His poems and stories have been published in numerous periodicals and anthologies over the years, including some in Germany, France, Belgium, New Zealand, and Yugoslavia. Some have been published in Cherokee, German, French and Macedonian translations. Conley's most unusual publication may be the poem Some Lines in Commemoration of This Site: Little Maquoketa River Mounds, May 15, 1981, commissioned by the Iowa State Department of Transportation and published on a permanent display marker at the mound site near Dubuque. His first novel, Back to Malachi, was published by Doubleday in 1986. Since then he has had eighty books published, including a collection of short stories, a novelization of the screenplay, Geronimo: An American Legend, a history of the Cherokee Nation, and a collection of essays. Robert J. Conley is a recent past-president of Western Writers of America and is the recipient of a number of awards, including three Spur Awards and induction into the Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame. He is a citzen of the Cherokee Nation.
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David Cozzo, Project Director for RTCAR
David Cozzo received his BS in Biology from Eastern Kentucky University , MA in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University, and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Georgia in Athens . His main areas of focus during his doctoral research were Medical Ethnobotany , Nutritional Ethnobotany , and Human Ecology of the Southern Appalachian Mountains . These interests culminated in his doctoral dissertation, Ethnobotanical Classification System and Medical Ethnobotany of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (2004). He is currently the Project Director for the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources.
Andrew Denson, Associate Professor of History
Andrew Denson teaches courses in Native American and United States history. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Indiana University. He is the author of Demanding the Cherokee Nation: Indian Autonomy and American Culture, 1830-1900, as well as articles in various journals. His current research focuses on Native Americans and historical memory.
Dr. Jane Eastman, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Director of Cherokee Studies
Dr. Eastman received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include Native American societies of the Southeastern United States, particularly community organization, gender relations, pottery analysis, and culture contact studies.
Dr. Eastman teaches on the origins of civilization, world prehistory, Indians of North America, method and theory in archaeology and bioanthropology, archaeological field and analytical methods, and hopes to soon add courses on Southeastern US archaeology and gender studies. She is working with Roseanna Belt, director of Western’s Cherokee Center, on a Cherokee Language Preservation Grant from the Cherokee Cultural Preservation Foundation and is an active member of the Cherokee Language Revitalization Committee. In the summer of 2003 she was elected president of the North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association.
Anna Fariello, Associate Research Professor, Hunter Library
Anna Fariello, Associate Professor at WCU's Hunter Library, is head of the library’s Digital Initiatives program, which builds websites and collections focused on southern Appalachian history and culture. Cherokee Traditions: From the Hands of our Elders is a website focused on Cherokee culture.
F ariello holds an MFA in visual art and an MA in museum studies and art history. With twenty years' experience in the fields of higher education and museums, she is a former research fellow at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and Archives of American Art and field researcher for the Smithsonian Folklife Center. She curated Huichol Tablas, an exhibition on the work of indigenous peoples of Mexico. In 2000, she was a senior Fullbright fellow to Latin America, where she taught museology and visited and photographed the Kuna and Ebera.
She is the author of Cherokee Carving (2013), Cherokee Pottery (2011), and Cherokee Basketry (2009) as well as two earlier books on material culture, A Virginia Field Guide to Cultural Sites (2006) and Objects and Meaning (2003). She is Visual Art Editor for the Encyclopedia of Appalachia. She has presented her work at the International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums. She currently serves as Museology Specialist for the US Fulbright Commission and on the board of the World Craft Council. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Brown Hudson Award from the North Carolina Folklore Society .
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Dr. Hartwell Francis, Cherokee Language Program Director
Hartwell Francis, Ph.D., is the Director of the Western Carolina University Cherokee Language Program. After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies, Dr. Francis earned an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Applied Linguistics Department of Portland State University in Oregon. Using his degree and experience accumulated during his studies abroad, he taught English language in Mexico and Japan. These experiences drew him further into linguistics, and he soon found himself at the University of Colorado, where he earned a Ph.D. in theoretical linguistics. At CU he focused on the syntax-semantics interface in Native American languages.
Shortly after graduating from CU, he joined the faculty of Cherokee Studies as the Director of the Cherokee Language Program. Dr. Francis has worked with Cherokee Language Coordinator Thomas Belt on the Western Carolina University Cherokee language curriculum. Together they have instituted the Cherokee Scholars program, which brings members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to campus to speak about their experiences as Cherokee language teachers. Dr. Francis teaches courses on Cherokee grammar, language death, language revitalization, and linguistic anthropology.
Dr. Lisa J. Lefler, Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Culturally Based Native Health Programs, College of Health & Human Sciences WCU
Dr. Lefler received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1996. A medical and applied anthropologist with a focus in behavioral health, she has worked with the Indian Health Service, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI), the Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, and Chickasaw Nations of Oklahoma and many other tribes nationally. Lisa is also Executive Director of the Center for Native Health, a local non-profit. Other interests and works of Dr. Lefler include Indian youth and drug/alcohol abuse, health-related issues concerning stress, historic grief and trauma, traditional childbirth, Indigenous Science, and Cherokee women and stickball. Courses taught include Cherokee Culture and History, Southern Appalachian Culture, Native Peoples of North America, Applied Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Ethnographic Research Methods, Women, Culture, Health & Healing, Indigenous and Western Psychologies, and Issues in Indian Health. She is a former President of the Southern Anthropological Society and current chair for the Zora Neale Hurston Award for SAS, and a member of the Lambda Alpha National Collegiate Honors Society for Anthropology.
Carrie McLachlan is a Ph.D. candidate in Native American history at the University of California, Riverside. She is presently writing her dissertation on Cherokee Relations in the Colonial Era. She has a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in Religious studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a second M.A. in American history from Western (where she wrote her thesis on Cherokee Cosmology).
McLachlan’s major field of study is Native American history with a focus on the colonial era. She has authored two published articles on the importance of the dog in Cherokee and American Indian thought. She is currently teaching Native American Religions, mostly online, and has taught courses in Religious Studies (Religions of the East and Religions of the West), Introduction to Philosophy, and American Insitutions.
Dr. Anne Rogers, Professor of Anthropology
Dr. Rogers, a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Georgia, joined the faculty at Western in 1980. Her areas of interest are southeastern archaeology—she has worked on numerous Cherokee archaeological sites in the area—and Native America studies. She teaches courses on contemporary Cherokee culture and on North American Indians and related topics. Her most recent publication is "Chestnuts and Native Americans" in the Journal of the American Chestnut Foundation, Vol. XVI (No. 1) Fall 2002.
Since coming to western North Carolina, Dr. Rogers has studied the Cherokee language and come to appreciate the persistence of the Cherokee in retaining not only their language but other elements of their culture. Her appreciation of the natural environment in which Cherokee culture has developed is continually expanding; her respect for their accomplishments also has grown greatly.
Mr. George Frizzell, Head of Special Collections, Hunter Library
Mr. Frizzell has an MA in history from Western and a MLS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is a recognized expert in the fields of Cherokee and Appalachian history.