Museum of the Cherokee Indian Spring Lecture Series to explore food sovereignty

by Mar 4, 2022General Announcements0 comments


The Museum of the Cherokee Indian (MCI) is proud to announce its Spring Lecture Series, held both in-person and virtually throughout March, April, and May of 2022. Under the theme of Food Sovereignty, the series features a lineup of Cherokee innovators, advocates, and culture keepers dedicated to preserving Indigenous foodways and plant gathering traditions.

“With this series, we hope to look at the importance and impact of traditional foods and foodways amongst Indigenous people, how food has an impact on identity and culture, and provide educational resources for those interested in this subject,” shares Jenn Wilson, MCI Aniyvwiyahi Community Program Coordinator. “It is my hope that I can encourage my fellow tribal members to learn more about food sovereignty and how reconnecting with culture in this way is important.”

The series kicks off on Friday, March 11 with a virtual presentation from Tommy Cabe (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians). As the liaison between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the National Park Service, Tommy has helped obtain the rights to gather traditional foods, such as sochan and ramps, within park lands. In his online-only lecture, Tommy will share his experiences working as a liaison and explain what plants EBCI members are allowed to gather.

On Tuesday, March 22, the Lecture Series moves to Cherokee’s Bird Town Community Center for a live presentation from innovative chef Nico Albert (ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ Cherokee Nation). As owner and executive chef of Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods, Nico revitalizes ancestral Indigenous foodways to promote healing and wellness in Native communities. Her work has been spotlighted by PBS, OsiyoTV, USA Today, Atlas Obscura, and more. Nico arrives in Cherokee from her home of Tulsa, Oklahoma to discuss food sovereignty and prepare several dishes live for the audience. On Monday, March 28 at 6pm, tune in to YouTube for a live screening of Nico’s lecture, plus a Q&A with MCI staff.

On Wednesday, April 20, Join MCI staff live on YouTube for the premiere of “Corn: A Look at Traditional Foodways and Cherokee Identity.” Listen as elders and community members discuss the continuing impact and uses of corn, a staple food in the Cherokee diet for thousands of years. Learn traditional methods of preparation and cooking and how corn ties into Cherokee identity. Museum staff will lead a chat-based Q&A.

The Spring Lecture Series concludes on Wednesday, May 18 with the virtual event “The Seeds We Bear: The Ties Between Food, Identity & Motherhood.” Four women from different Indigenous nations across the United States will discuss the impact of traditional foods within their communities—and how pursuing stronger ties with traditional foods and preparation can strengthen our ties with ourselves. Panelists will also discuss how food can influence childbirth and motherhood.

All Spring Lecture Series events are free of charge and open to all. Space is limited, and attendees may register for each panel via the links below. Additional information, including panelist bios, can be found at All filmed Lecture Series events will be added to the Museum’s YouTube channel; the 2021-2022 Winter Lecture Series can be streamed in its entirety.

2022 MCI Spring Lecture Series Schedule

Tommy Cabe on EBCI & Park Service Agreements
Friday, March 11, 3pm
Location: Virtual (Register here)
Speaker: Tommy Cabe (EBCI)

An Afternoon with Nico Albert
Live Event: Tuesday, March 22, 2pm, Bird Town Community Center, 1139 US-19, Cherokee, NC 28719 (Register here)
Speaker: Nico Albert (Cherokee Nation)
Virtual Event: March 28, 6pm – watch the pre-recorded lecture and participate in a live chat Q&A with MCI staff via MCI’s YouTube channel

Corn: A Look at Traditional Foodways & Cherokee Identity
Wednesday, April 20, 6pm
Location: Virtual – watch the pre-recorded lecture and participate in a live chat Q&A on MCI’s YouTube channel
Speakers: To be announced via

The Seeds We Bear: The Ties Between Food, Identity & Motherhood
Wednesday, May 18, 3pm
Location: Virtual (Register here)
Speakers: To be announced via