What: Friends of Moccasin Bend Lecture Series
Who: Michell Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Tennessee Aquarium auditorium, downtown Chattanooga
Michell Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, first made friends in Chattanooga in April 2005 when he helped dedicate the Passage at the Chattanooga waterfront.
"This place remembers before we were divided, when we were one great nation, the Cherokee Nation," he said then. "The water holds our tears of joy and sorrow. The rocks hold the sounds of our great Cherokee language. This soil has absorbed our blood and continues to clutch our footsteps. No amount of removal or federal policy can strip this land of the memories it embraces."
Now Hicks is returning to make good on a promise he made in the speech that many remember: That Moccasin Bend would be the next great success story of reintegrating the heritage of American Indians and Chattanooga.
On Monday, Hicks will be the first speaker in the Friends of Moccasin Bend's annual fall lecture series. The series features free lectures in September, October and November about Moccasin Bend's Native American and Civil War history.
This year's lineup also includes Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer on Oct. 1 and archaeologist and University of Tennessee professor David G. Anderson on Nov. 12.
"This is a pretty stellar line-up this year," said Shelley Andrews, executive director of Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park.
Holzer is one of the nation's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. He serves as chairman of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and was awarded the 2008 National Humanities Medal.
Anderson has a particular interest in exploring the development of cultural complexity in Eastern North America, from initial colonization onward, as well as the impact of climate change on human societies. He is the founding director of the online Paleoindian Database of the Americas.
Hicks also serves on a joint tribal, state and local government committee on Homeland Security and several boards, including the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. He was born and spent most of his life in Cherokee, N.C., but lives now in the Painttown community of the Qualla Boundary with his wife Marsha and their five children.