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Rooted in the Mountains

A poster depicting natural elements representing the rooted in the mountains.


11th Annual Rooted in the Mountains Symposium

September 24th, 2020 | Teaser Webinar

Our lives depend on it. It is probably the most precious of our natural resources, yet our rivers and streams are suffering.

Please join us for a very broad and interdisciplinary discussion of water during the Rooted in the Mountains FREE webinar.


April 8-9, 2021 | Ama: The Sacredness of Water 

Integrating Indigenous Knowledge, Language, Health & Environment

Rooted in the Mountains is an annual symposium that intersects traditional and local knowledge with health and environmental issues.

Join us for an interdisciplinary discussion of water during the 11th Annual Rooted in the Mountains Symposium. This full two-day symposium will occur on the WCU campus with panels and keynoters.

Participants leave the symposium with a new sense of urgency and tools to use in valuing our common ground.


Keynote Speaker

Mr. Tom Belt, Cherokee Nation

Conference Sponsor

This work is support by grant U54 MD011240 - Native Controlling Hypertension and Risk through Technology (Native-CHART) funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Conference Agenda

Day One – Thursday, April 8, 2021

  • 8:30AM  Registration
  • 9:00AM  Welcome
    Dr. Lisa Lefler, Director of the WCU’s Native Health Programs
  • 9:30AM Introduction of Theme
    Mr. Tom Belt (Cherokee Nation) Ama’: A Cherokee Worldview of Water 10:15AM

15 minute Break

  • 10:30AM Panel 1
    River Conservation in WNC Callie Moore, Tom Hatley
  • 11:30AM Lunch (On your own)
  • 1:00PM Panel 2
    Granting Legal Personhood to Bodies of Water Kim Hall (WCU) and other Panelists (TBD)
  • 2:00PM  Panel 3
    Writing About Water in Appalachia Jessica Corey, Brent Martin, Mae Claxton, & Other Writers (TBD)

15 minute Break

  • 3:15PM   Panel 4
    Dr. Jerry Miller (WCU) Researching River Death in WNC
  • 4:30PM   Conclude
  • 6:00PM Native Foods Supper at the Star Atrium, Bardo Fine & Performing Arts Center
    Native food supper provided by the Native American Indian Women’s Association
    (NOTE: Free w/prior Registration! $10/pp without prior Registration)

Day Two - Friday, April 9, 2021

  • 8:30AM  Registration
  • 9:00AM  Fieldtrip to Tuckaseegee River @ East LaPorte
    Onita Bush (EBCI), TJ Holland (EBCI), Tom Belt (Cherokee Nation), & Brett Riggs
  • 11:00AM Panel 5: EBCI  and Water Issues
    Mike LeVoie & Doug Reed
  • 12:00PM  Lunch (On your own)
  • 1:30PM Panel 6
    Elaine Eisenbraun, E.D. of the Nikwasi Initiative
  • 2:30PM Panel 7
    EBCI Natural Resources Department Tommy Cabe & Others (TBD)
  • 3:30PM Closing Remarks/Discussion
    Dr. Lisa Lefler, Tom Belt and others
  • 4:30PM Closing Blessing
    Reverend Rosemary Peek Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
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