Indigenizing Emory: University Welcomes Muscogee People for Indigenous Language Path Listening Sessions

Emory University hosted its second series of Indigenous Language Path listening sessions on October 27th and 28th at Emory’s Oxford and Atlanta campuses. The events culminated with the Muscogee Teach-In on the academic quad.

Elected officials, spiritual leaders, teachers, and citizens of Mvskoke Etvlwv (Muscogee Nation) who flew from Oklahoma to their ancestral homeland in present-day Georgia for the listening sessions and teach-in.  This process of community consultation and relational accountability guides the Indigenous Language Path Working Group as it  takes next steps in its efforts to  assimilate Emory to Muscogee knowledge through the original language of the land.

Dr. Iris PrettyPaint (Blackfeet), from the Native-led consulting firm KAI, facilitated the listening sessions at the Oxford and Atlanta campuses. The sessions began with a welcome and an acknowledgement of Emory’s history of Native removal and slavery from Dr. Greg McGongle, Dean of Religious Life and University Chaplain This segued into the purpose of the Listening Pathway Session: to create physical, visual, and digital reminders of Muscogee present, past, and future. The mission is to correct the “past tense” histories of Native people commonly taught in schools. This session continues the work started November 2021 to engage Emory’s campus in open dialogue and furthering the commitments of the land acknowledgement. During the Listening Sessions, leaders of Emory University asked students to provide input on how the Language Path can be refined to meaningfully honor Indigenous presence on campus. Reverend Chebon Kernell, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and of Muscogee Creek ancestry, spoke of our responsibility to respect and honor the earth just the earth provides for us.

The Muscogee Teach-In began with welcome and opening remarks by leaders from both. This segued to traditional Mvskoke hymns by Muscogee elders. The language teachers shared traditional stories, such as why the opossum has a bare tail or how the animals divided the day and night. Each was told in Mvskoke with English translation in Mvskoke Language Preservation Program. This was followed by the Mvskoke Cultural Lab & Stories sponsored by Brittney Cuevas (owner of Four LOCV) and Denise Barnett (assistant for Four LOCV) where participants created corn husk people. The event ended with a Stomp Dance led by Rev. Chebon Kernell. Students and faculty were invited to join the Muscogee dancers in the final social dances.

This Indigenous Language Path is one of several efforts at Emory to indigenize the campus in ways that honor and respect Indigenous peoples and their rights within their ancestral homelands

Support Brittney Cuevas and Indigenous craftsmanship here.

Sat 11/19 First Voices Festival

On November 19, 7 Stages, in collaboration with Turtle Island Trading, Zintkala Zi PowWow and the L5P Business Association, presents The First Voices Festival: A Celebration of Indigenous Cultures.

This festival will offer audiences in Atlanta, for the first time, an opportunity to engage in music, dance, theatrical performances, food, and Indigenous history, wisdom, and culture through storytelling, outreach, and engagement events. The goal is to provide Indigenous and Native American artists a platform to share their stories, art, and culture while promoting diversity, equity, and inclusivity to help people better understand how choices today can impact generations to come. Click here to purchase/register tickets for each event.

Powwow (Free – Need to register)

Time: 9am to 5pm

Place: Little 5 Points Soccer Field

Art of Activism Meal & Dialogue (Free – Need to register)

Time: 5pm to 6:30pm

Place: The Wrecking Bar

Evening Performances ($10-$40 for tickets)

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Place: 7 Stages

F 11/11 UGA NASA presents a Native American Heritage Month Powwow Exhibition

On November 11, UGA’s Native American Student Association, with support from the Institute of Native American Studies, Multicultural Services and Programs, and Gable Distinguished Professor of History, James F. Brooks, is hosting a Celebration of Native American Heritage with an Exhibition Powwow at Reed Quad. Dance Styles exhibited will include Men’s Fancy, Women’s Fancy Shawl, Grass, Jingle and Hoop dances.  This is the key event of UGA’s Native American Heritage Month. Join us at Reed Quad for Native American Music and Dance in celebration of Indigenous American Identity and Culture

Time: 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Place: University of Georgia at Reed Quad

Th 11/17 Art Circle #19: Indigenous Perspectives

On November 17, the Art Circles Organizing Team will be hosting an Indigenous Perspectives Art Circle.
The event’s theme: “Indigenous people have lived in the Americas for thousands of years, including the Muscogee Creek people who lived, worked, and produced knowledge on the land that Emory University now occupies. Indigeneity and Indigeouns identity are defined and redefined by many different individuals across time, place, and culture; we do not intend to limit this definition, but we are excited to explore how art can function as an expression of that identity, in all its multitudes. Art allows for the expression and acknowledgment of culture and perspective through the sharing of stories, history, language, and knowledge.” 
If you are interested in joining this vibrant conversation, please contact Zimra Chickering (zimra [dot] chickering [at] emory [dot] edu). Your reservation will be noted and a reminder email will be sent with the discussion guidelines the day before the discussion. To participate, please bring along any art piece that engages with the theme, whether that be visual art, a poem, a song, a story, or anything else you want to share. This is not an academic discussion. Each person will have three minutes to talk about their chosen work, but do not feel worried about filling up that time, as it is simply a cap to provide equitable time for all participants. It is encouraged that you to share your thoughts and feelings openly and informally. 

Time: 7:30 pm to 8:45 pm

Place: Cannon Chapel Breezeway

For more information, contact Zimra Chickering at zimra [dot] chickering [at] emory [dot] edu.

M 11/7 Europe and Beyond

On November 7, the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry (FCHI) will host Europe and Beyond,  discussion based seminars led by Distinguished University Professor Lynée Lewis Gaillet and Postdoctoral Fellow Alexander Cors to foster research-centered, cross-disciplinary intellectual community among faculty and graduate students at Emory University, Georgia State University, and Agnes Scott College working on Europe and Europe-related topics. Registration is needed to obtain the zoom information.

Time: Nov 7 from 4:15 to 6:15 pm

Place: Zoom Registration

For more information about FCHI

For more information on the European Studies LISTSERV,  contact Mary Taylor Mann at mtmann [at] emory [dot] edu.