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Rooted in the Mountains: Valuing our Common Ground
6th Annual Symposium Integrating Indigenous Knowledge, Language, Health, and Environment

September 24-25, 2015

WCU Health and Human Sciences Building
4121 Little Savannah Road, Cullowhee, NC 28723

Registration is $75 for adults** and $25 for students*.
A special 1-day rate of $40 is also available.

After September 18th, registration will be $125 for adults.

*A limited number of FREE student scholarships are available by using the promo code "rootedstudent" during online check-out.

**Four faculty members can receive free registration for the conference. These registrations are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. You may request a free registration by emailing


WCU's 6th Annual Symposium Rooted in the Mountains: Valuing Our Common Ground is a collaborative meeting that seeks to integrate indigenous and local knowledge with health and environmental issues. We include both Appalachian and Native world views in an attempt to better understand the issues and dynamics of our place and relationship with the natural world as well as understand the challenges that arise in our changing world.  Rooted also reflects the importance of language in our meetings because it is within language that Traditional or Indigenous epistemologies are preserved.

Our theme this year is "Plants for Food and Medicine." Our presenters are community members from Cherokee and the surrounding areas as well as professionals, activists, academics and researchers who work with plants.

Our Native Keynote address on the first day will be Cherokee Elder Tom Belt and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Cultural Resource Officer, T.J. Holland, a member of the Snowbird community. They will be discussing the Cherokee concept of "Duyuktvi."

Our second day keynote address will be from WCU's former Sequoyah Distinguished Professor, Dr. Tom Hatley. Besides being a nationally recognized historian and Cherokee scholar, Dr. Hatley has trained as a forester and historian at Davidson, Duke and Yale. He has worked for more than thirty years on strategies for collaborative and cross-cultural social investment in agriculture, health, and land recovery. He will combine these interests to discuss our relationship with local forests and how to view them in a different light. His talk is entitled "How the Sequoia Got It's Name: Stories we tell about Forests (and Ourselves)."
Join us for two days of engaging discussion and networking as we seek common ground in understanding the importance of our relationship and responsibility with plants of one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world.  Don't forget that your registration also includes a night of mountain music and entertainment from locally talented artists. 

For more information about the symposium contact: 
Dr. Lisa Lefler, 828.227.2164 or


WCU College of Health and Human Sciences and Culturally Based Native Health Programs
WCU College of Arts and Sciences' Cherokee Studies Program and Sequoyah Distinguished Professor
WCU Educational Outreach
The Center for Native Health, Inc.

This symposium is dedicated to the memory of two mountain people of Jackson County, NC:

Jean Nations Lefler      Dale Nations


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