The Cherokee are one of the largest Native American tribes in the United States, with more than three hundred thousand people across the country claiming tribal membership and nearly one million people internationally professing to have at least one Cherokee Indian ancestor. In this revealing history of Cherokee migration and resettlement, Professor Gregory Smithers uncovers the origins of the Cherokee diaspora and explores how communities and individuals have negotiated their Cherokee identities, even when geographically removed from the Cherokee Nation headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Beginning in the eighteenth century, the author transports the reader back in time to tell the poignant story of the Cherokee people migrating throughout North America, including their forced exile along the infamous Trail of Tears (1838–39). Smithers tells a remarkable story of courage, cultural innovation, and resilience, exploring the importance of migration and removal, land and tradition, culture and language in defining what it has meant to be Cherokee for a widely scattered people.
Gregory D. Smithers is an Associate Professor of Native American History at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of The Cherokee Diaspora(Yale University Press, 2015) and Slave Breeding: Sex, Violence, and Memory in African American History (University Press of Florida, 2013), and the co-editor (with Brooke N. Newman) of Native Diasporas (University of Nebraska Press, 2014).
This lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in 039 Graham Memorial Hall. Light refreshments will be served.
Please join us at the Center for a lunchtime discussion titled “From Red Power to Hip Hop: The Urban Indigenous Experience in Postwar America.” Indigenous people and urban spaces are often rendered incompatible in both historical and contemporary scholarship. In this line of thinking, Native people are “pre-modern” while cities are “modern,” thus Native people are outside of modernity. And yet, they have always been in cities and engaged with urban culture. They were influenced by and helped shape urban culture for the last several decades in significant ways. Crossing the late 20th and early 21st centuries, this talk explores the links between the Red Power movement and the most significant cultural movement since that time: the emergence of Hip Hop in Indigenous North America. Two questions frame my talk. What role did urban culture play in the shaping of the Red Power movement? What is the link between the Red Power movement and Indigenous Hip Hop today? Using Critical Indigenous Studies frameworks, this talk argues that Native people, long fighting the colonial baggage of invisibility, have used urban spaces and cultures to help assert their humanity as modern Indigenous people in postwar America.
Kyle T. Mays (Black/Saginaw Chippewa) is a transdisciplinary scholar of modern U.S. history, urban history, indigenous studies, and comparative ethnic studies. As a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at UNC-Chapel Hill, he is currently working on two projects. The first is a revised version of his dissertation, titled Indigenous Detroit: Indigeneity, Race, and Gender in the Construction of the Modern Motor City, which analyzes the role of indigeneity in the construction of 20th century Detroit. The second is a book-length manuscript titled Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America, which is currently under contract with SUNY Press.
This event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to email@example.com.