Gilliam Jackson interviewing Ella Bird, a Beloved Woman of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Stories of the Snowbird Day School

Gilliam Jackson interviewing Ella Bird, a Beloved Woman of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The Snowbird Day School evolved from Quaker-led initiatives in the late 19th century to educate young Cherokee Indians living in Tuti Yi, a Native community in Western North Carolina.

By the early 20th century, the school was administered by the federal government via the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and as with most federally-run schools for Native students, it sought to assimilate Indian youth into white, Anglophone culture. Over the course of nearly seven decades, an estimated 550 students attended the school before it was closed in 1963 due to federal desegregation efforts.

Trey Adcock, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Fellow, will present stories from the Snowbird Day School as part of Appalachian Evenings on Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 6-7 p.m. at Mars Hill University.

Adcock has been working in partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to collect and preserve oral histories, mainly in the Cherokee language, to tell the story of the Snowbird Day School. As a collaborative tribal-led initiative, Tuti Tsunadelogwasdi Uninohelv (Stories of the Snowbird Day School) will bring Cherokee communities together to reflect on their history, document the experience of cultural transition, and contribute to the preservation of their language.

Adcock will be joined by project co-coordinator, Gilliam Jackson, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Jackson grew up in the Tuti Yi community where he attended the Snowbird Day School. Currently, Gil is a lecturer in Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina Asheville where he teaches Cherokee Language courses and resides on tribally controlled lands in the Tuti Yi community.

Trey Adcock is an assistant professor of Education and director of American Indian & Indigenous Studies at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His research interests include American Indian education, Curriculum Studies, and Indigenous methodologies. He also serves on the Advisory Council of the Center for Diversity Education.

Appalachian Evenings are free of charge and all are welcome. The event will be held in the Ramsey Center, which is located inside Renfro Library on the campus of Mars Hill University.

For events that happen before 6 p.m. on a weekday, please park in the lot on Bailey Street just next to the Greenway – across the street from Chambers Gym. After 6 p.m., visitors may park in any available green or white parking space, even if it is designated “faculty” or “students.”

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