Moccasin Bend Lecture Series Debuts Sept. 12 At IMAX Theater

  • Thursday, September 1, 2022

The 17th Annual Moccasin Bend Lecture Series, sponsored by The Honorable Greg A. Vital, will debut with a presentation on Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. featuring “When the World Came Crashing Down: 16th Century Spanish Expeditions in the Southeastern U.S." Guest speaker Jim Langford, president of the Etowah Museum, will introduce audiences at the IMAX and via the virtual broadcast, to his lifelong work uncovering the stories of the 16th Century Spanish expeditions in the South. 

Langford’s talk is presented in partnership with the UTC Department of Social, Cultural and Justice Studies and will describe a personal research journey that began in 1969 when, as a high school student, he found and recorded 16th Century villages along the Coosawattee River in his home county in Northwest Georgia. His work evolved to include collaborations with several universities and published research providing key evidence that confirmed the location of the capitol core villages of Coosa – the largest and most powerful province north of Mexico encountered by Spanish expeditions of the 16th Century. Mr. Langford’s presentation will detail how pieces of the cultural puzzle and information about the expeditions continue to unfold as archeological investigations and archival research yield new details and clues. 
On Monday, Oct. 17, the series will continue with “The Ethnogenesis of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” a presentation by Anita Finger-Smith, president of the Cherokee Genealogical Services. Licensed by the Eastern Band of Cherokees, Ms. Finger-Smith’s presentation will cover five circumstances during the early 19th century that contributed to the nucleus of Cherokee Indians who remained in the Southeast after the forced removal of most Cherokee to Indian Territory. These remaining Cherokee later formed the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and many people still believe the only reason the Cherokee are in the East today is because they “hid out in the mountains.” Although this was true for some, the majority are there for other reasons that guests will learn during this presentation. Ms. Finger-Smith’s lecture is presented in partnership with the Tennessee Trail of Tears Association.
The Moccasin Bend Lecture Series will culminate on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. with “A Salient Point: Moccasin Bend and the Civil War Struggle for Chattanooga,” a presentation by Jim Ogden, historian at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. During this event, Mr. Ogden will discuss the pivotal events and activities that took place on and around Moccasin Bend during the Campaign for Chattanooga. From the U.S. Army supply line (the famous “Cracker Line”) across Moccasin Bend at Brown’s Ferry to the well-preserved earthworks at the southern end of Stringer’s Ridge, this peninsula along the Tennessee River became a focal point between the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863 and the Battles for Chattanooga later that fall in November. Mr. Ogden’s lecture is presented in partnership with the UTC Department of History.
The 2022 series will take place live, in-person, at the IMAX Theater, with an accompanying live broadcast via Zoom, offering all guests the opportunity to participate in the Q&A sessions. All appropriate CDC policy and local health guidelines at the time of the events will be followed to provide a safe experience for all guests. Registration is required for each event separately, for either in-person or virtual participation. For more information and to register, visit The Moccasin Bend Lecture Series was founded by Mr. Vital in 2006 and all events are free and open to the public through his sponsorship.
About guest speakers:

James Langford is a native of Calhoun, Ga., where he continues to work on land conservation and archaeological research projects in a career that began at the age of 16 when he worked with professional archaeologists at New Echota, the last capital of the Cherokee Nation before the removal of the Cherokees from Georgia.  Mr. Langford has published academic research related to Indigenous ceramics across multiple time periods, and on the 16th century impact of European expeditions on Indigenous cultures in the Southeastern United States. A past president of the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists and the Society for Georgia Archaeology, he is also the author of landmark legislation in Georgia protecting human burials and archaeological sites. Mr. Langford earned his undergraduate degrees in journalism and archaeology from the University of Georgia, and his MBA degree from the Harvard Business School. 
Anita Finger-Smith has been a genealogical and historical researcher for more than 25 years, specializing in Cherokee resources, manuscripts and record analysis related to Cherokee in the Southeast. She is the president and CEO of Cherokee Genealogy Services, a business licensed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Ms. Finger-Smith has served as a board member for the National and North Carolina Trail of Tears Association for more than a decade. When not attending to research, she takes care of duties as co-owner of Bearmeat's Indian Den, an authentic Native American arts & crafts gallery located on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC.
James (Jim) Ogden, III is a Maryland native and graduate of Frostburg State College. He began work with the National Park Service in 1982 at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park before transferring to Russell Cave National Monument, Bridgeport, Al., and Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, Va.  In November, 1988, he returned to Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park as the staff historian, the position he presently holds. Mr. Ogden speaks regularly on aspects of the Civil War to historical organizations across the eastern half of the U. S. including several Civil War Round Tables. He has taught a number of Civil War history courses for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has appeared on the History Channel’s “Civil War Journal” and “Civil War Combat” and PBS’s “History Detectives,” as well as C-SPAN. Since 1986, he has been an instructor for over 600 groups of officers of the U. S. Army conducting Staff Rides (an in-depth analysis of a historical military event) at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

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