Rooted in the Mountains Symposium to be held

by Aug 7, 2018Happenings


HEALING: Onita Bush, an EBCI tribal elder from the Snowbird Community, speaks at last year’s Rooted in the Mountains symposium on the Cherokee use of plants for health and healing. (WCU photo)

The 9th Annual Rooted in the Mountains: Valuing Our Common Ground Symposium will be returning this fall at Western Carolina University.  This year’s theme is “Heart Health – Women’s Health: Rooted in Culture”. This two-day symposium integrates Appalachian and Native American traditional knowledge, health, language, and environmental issues and will take place on Thursday, Sept. 27 and Friday, Sept. 28 on the Western Carolina University campus in the Blue Ridge Conference Room.

This year, Western Carolina University’s Culturally Based Native Health Program has collaborated with the Native Controlling Hypertension and Risk through Technology and the American Indian and Alaska Native Diabetes Translation Research Southeast Satellite Center. Together, they will bring together an interesting group of local, regional, and national speakers to discuss theme-related topics.

Dr. Lisa Lefler, director of the Culturally Based Native Health Program, shares, “This symposium is a valuable opportunity to learn from Native speakers and those who understand Traditional Knowledge.  This annual event highlights the importance of Traditional Knowledge’s integration with health and environmental issues.  For the Cherokee, tohi’ (health) is a central concept that impacts every part of our lives. Come listen and learn with us!”

Confirmed speakers include: Katsi Cook, a mother, mid-wife, women’s health advocate and activist for environmental restoration in her Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne, will be the keynote speaker. Various EBCI tribal members and Cherokee Nation citizens will be speaking on related topics across the two days including: Onita Bush, Tom Belt, TJ Holland, Vickie Bradley, Billie Jo Rich, Blythe Winchester, and Carmen Nations. Other speakers include Jim Howard, retired clinician and faculty from George Washington University, who will discuss the results from the Strong Heart Study, the largest, longest longitudinal study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors among Native Americans. Jeff Proulx, a Senior Researcher Associate at Oregon Health and Science University, will share his work developing a mindfulness program for stress reduction with Native American communities.

Registration is $75.00, with students and tribal elders admitted free.

Info: Pam Myers (828) 227-2893 or, or visit

– Rooted in the Mountains