The Friends of Moccasin Bend will present their ninth annual Fall Lecture Series in collaboration with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Geography at UTC. This year’s three lectures will take place on Mondays at 7 p.m. at the UTC University Center Auditorium. Parking is free on the UTC campus after 5:30 p.m., and the lectures themselves are also free and open to the public.
Speakers for this year’s series will focus on the National Park Service and on the history of the Trail of Tears, in honor of the Friends’ second year in working with the National Park Service to rediscover and re-open the historic Old Federal Road on Moccasin Bend as an historic and natural area for the public. The Old Federal Road was one of the principal routes used in the 1838 Cherokee Removal.
Monday, Sept. 15
Brad Bennett, newly appointed superintendent of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, opens the series. Mr. Bennett oversees Moccasin Bend as a National Archeological District within the greater National Military Park. The new superintendent will discuss his quarter-century of experience in the National Park Service, at parks spanning the spectrum from wild to urban, forest to desert, and scenic to historic. He will recount his experiences raising his family and working for the Park Service, with the various communities adjacent to the parks, and often with American Indian tribe members and other indigenous people in Arizona, Alaska, West Virginia, Hawaii, Virginia, California, Alabama, south Georgia and, now, in the Chattanooga area.
Monday, Oct. 20
Historian and author Dr. Vicki Rozema will focus on how the growing interest in science and technology in the early 19th century American South contributed to the Cherokee Removal of 1838, as both a cause and a tool. Southern leaders wanted to tap the land and mineral resources of the Cherokee Nation in order to advance westward expansion, bolster commerce and aid in national defense. Cherokee leaders were bent on controlling their nation’s internal affairs and opposed to outside interference. Dr. Rozema will also discuss how advances in transportation technology enabled the ultimate removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma. The speaker holds a Ph.D. in history from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she taught World History and American History. She is also the author of three books and numerous articles on the history of the Cherokee people and Southern Appalachia.
Monday, Nov. 10
The final 2014 lecture features Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice Troy Wayne Poteete. Justice Poteete recently assumed duties as executive director of the National Trail of Tears Association, an organization he helped to found. He served two consecutive terms on the Cherokee Tribal Council before being named to the Supreme Court, and he is the Cherokee Nation’s representative on the Board of the Friends of Moccasin Bend. Historian, lecturer and storyteller, Justice Poteete will discuss why the Cherokee people mark and commemorate the Trail of Tears, and how they use that story from their past to meet challenges in contemporary life.
Having taken place each fall since 2006, the Friends of Moccasin Bend Lecture Series is underwritten by Greg A. Vital, co-founder, president and CEO of Independent Healthcare Properties, LLC, an assisted living and senior care services company based in Chattanooga. Mr. Vital has a commitment to preservation, conservation and national park advocacy issues. He serves on several local and national advisory boards, 2014 including the National Park Conservation Association, the Trust for Public Land and the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park.