The 2023 Moccasin Bend Fall Lecture Series begins on Monday, September 18th at 7 p.m. at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater in downtown Chattanooga. Celebrating its 18th year, the Moccasin Bend Lecture Series was founded in 2006 by Greg Vital, now Tennessee State Representative for District 29, to raise awareness of the newly established Moccasin Bend National Archeological District. The lecture series brings speakers from across the country to present their insights and research on topics related to National Parks and conservation; Indigenous culture and history; and Chattanooga’s place in the U.S. Civil War. All events in the 2023 series will take place at 7:00 pm at the IMAX Theater and are free and open to the public, although reservations are required. Event information and registration links can be found at https://nppcha.org/moccasin-bend-lecture-series
The September 18th program titled “Cherokee Resilience: Triumph Over Tragedy” will be presented by Troy Wayne Poteete, a founding member and Executive Director of the National Trail of Tears Association. The talk will emphasize how the Cherokee continue to focus on building a vibrant future and thriving community despite the tragic events of the American Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears nearly 200 years ago. A Justice of the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court from 2007-2017, Mr. Poteete represented the Three Rivers District in the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council from 1991 to 1999. A seasoned storyteller and lecturer on Cherokee history, his presentations draw on a rich family history in the South of the Cherokee Nation, and a lifetime of service in the Cherokee Nation government.
The series continues Monday, October 2nd at 7:00 p.m. with “General Ulysses S. Grant and the Civil War Campaign for Chattanooga,” a presentation by Dr. Frank Varney, author and Professor of US and Classical History at St. Michael’s College. Chattanooga has been described as the Gateway to the capture of Atlanta and Savannah, helping to break the Southern resistance and ending the Civil War. Dr. Varney will explore the history and misinformation surrounding General Ulysses S. Grant, an effective but much misunderstood Union General.
Dr. Varney earned his undergraduate degree at William Paterson University, and his MA and Ph.D. at Cornell University. He retired as a Distinguished Professor of US and Classical History, and recently began teaching at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. He frequently speaks to Civil War roundtables, history societies, and other interested groups, often taking student groups to visit historical sites, especially Civil War battlefields, and makes frequent guest appearances on television and radio.
The series culminates on Monday, November 13, at 7:00 p.m. with “Culturally Deliberate in the 21st Century,” presented by Richard Sneed, Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. For millennia, cultures across humanity were diverse and unique. From language, dress, religion, and social constructs, people groups were as diverse as the lands they inhabited. This held especially true for the Indigenous peoples of North America. Chief Sneed’s talk will shed light on current efforts to keep the Cherokee culture distinct and the traditions alive amidst the new challenges posed by technology and cultural homogenization.
Principle Chief Richard Sneed’s life’s work has been one of public service, advocating for youth, community building, and cultural preservation. After graduating from Cherokee High School in 1986, he served in the United States Marine Corp for four years. His wife, Colene, is a citizen of the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and he is the father of five children, Breanna, Richie, Mattilynn, Katrina, and Samuel. Chief Sneed was officially sworn in as Principal Chief of the Eastern Band on May 25, 2017 and subsequently re-elected in 2019.
About National Park Partners of Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Moccasin Bend
National Park Partners champions the conservation of the natural, historic, and cultural resources of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, including Moccasin Bend National Archeological District. We engage the community in preserving and promoting the stories of these national treasures, and in growing Chattanooga’s National Park legacy for current and future generations. Visit nppcha.org to learn more about our programs, events, and opportunities to get involved.