By JEAN JONES
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) hosted their third annual Cherokee Archaeological Symposium on Oct. 24-25 at Harrrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.
THPO Officer Russell Townsend commented, “This is the third time the Tribe has hosted the Cherokee Archaeological symposium, and it keeps growing. We have more presenters and participants every year. It is really great to see the archaeologists and Tribal members learning from each other and having a good time.”
“The purpose of the event,” he continued, ”is to let Tribal members learn about projects that the THPO is involved with, from the actual archaeologists working in the field. Tribal members have an opportunity to interact with the researchers, and this is good because all of these projects are collaborations between the Cherokees and the scientists in the field.”
Miranda Panther, NAGPRA officer, explained, “We feel that this is a very special event in that it is possibly the only tribally sponsored archaeology event that allows professional archaeologists, federal agencies, and professors who teach in the Southeast to interact with Cherokee tribal and community members and present findings of their work.”
“The goal of our event is to get information back to the tribe about archaeological projects both on and off the Qualla Boundary that involve cultural and historical information pertinent to the Cherokee people. We want tribal members to have access to the results of archaeological work and better understand how those results help us interpret Cherokee life, history, and culture. We hope to inspire more Cherokee youth to pursue the field of archaeology as a career choice as well.”
This year’s event had 31 speakers over a two day period with about 100 people attending each day. The audience included students and staff from Robbinsville High School, tribal elders, EBCI staff, tribal and community members, and students from local universities.
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office is charged with the task of protecting Cherokee historic, archaeological, and sacred sites both on and off the Qualla Boundary.