Rooted in the Mountains symposium looks at healing, harmony

The eighth annual Rooted in the Mountains symposium at Western Carolina University will have a theme of “Duyuk’ dv’ I,” which translates to “The Correct Way” in Cherokee, on Thursday, Sept. 28, and Friday, Sept. 29.

The symposium is an interdisciplinary forum where ethnography, literature, art, music and native and western science converge. The collaborative meeting seeks to integrate indigenous and local knowledge with health and environmental issues. Sessions will be held in the conference room of Blue Ridge Hall on WCU’s Cullowhee campus.

The keynote speaker is Joe Gone, addressing “Healing Native Communities through Indigenous Paradigms.” Gone is a professor of psychology and Native American studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Joe Gone

The symposium will look at both Southern Appalachian and native peoples’ worldviews to help participants better understand the issues and dynamics of humanity’s place and relationship with the natural world, as well as understand the challenges that arise in an ever-changing world.

Highlights of the symposium include a field trip to Kituwah Mound, located near Bryson City. The outing will be led by Brett Riggs, WCU’s Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies. Enrique Gomez, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the university, will speak on healing through cosmological narratives, while Gwyneira Isaac with the Smithsonian Institution will discuss valuing traditional knowledge.

Conference sponsors are the Center for Native Health Inc. and WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health and Human Sciences, Cherokee Studies Program, Sequoyah Distinguished Professorship and Culturally Based Native Health Programs.

Registration is $75, with students and tribal elders admitted free. To see a complete schedule or to register, visit or call 828-227-2164.