Smithsonian curator to speak at UNCA about American Indian politics as part of series

Press release

From UNC Asheville News Services:

UNC Asheville will host a variety of events as part of its Native American Speaker and Performance Series, including a Cherokee stickball demonstration and talks by Native American leaders. The series provides the opportunity to engage in dialogue and deconstruct and challenge popular stereotypes of American Indians. All events in the series are free and open to the public.

Paul Chaat Smith, a Comanche author, essayist and curator, will deliver the series keynote address at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20 in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith University Union, Alumni Hall. Smith will discuss the contemporary landscape of American Indian politics and culture.

Smith is associate curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. His collection of essays, Everything You Know About Indians Is Wrong (University of Minnesota, 2009), examines the ways Indian stereotypes infiltrate culture. He is also co-author of Like a Hurricane: the Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (New Press, 1996), a standard text in American Indian studies and American history courses.

UNC Asheville will also host a Cherokee stickball demonstration by members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 on the UNC Asheville Intramural Fields. Stickball, which is similar to lacrosse, began as a way for tribes to settle disputes without going to war. The Asheville Youth Lacrosse league will follow with another demonstration to illustrate the historical link between the two games.

Chad Smith (no relation to Paul Chaat Smith), the former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, will give a presentation discussing the principle-based leadership organization and “Point A to Point B” leadership model used during his tenure. His talk takes place at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the Sherrill Center, Mission Health Mountain View Room.

The Native American Speaker & Performance Series is co-sponsored by many UNC Asheville programs and offices: the Office of the Associate Provost, the Department of Education, the American Indian Outreach Program, the Arts & Ideas Program, the Humanities Program, the NEH Distinguished Professor, and Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs. For more information, visit or call 828.251.6674.


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