Past Conferences

The purpose of the Southeast Indian Studies Conference is to provide a forum for discussion of the culture, history, art, health and contemporary issues of Native Americans in the Southeast. The conference serves as a critical venue for scholars, students and all persons interested in American Indian Studies in the region.

Nineteenth Annual Southeast Native Studies Conference
March 21-22, 2024
Museum of the Southeast American Indian

Dr. Brooke Bauer

Eighteenth Annual Southeast Native Studies Conference

March 30-31, 2023

Museum of the Southeast American Indian

Keynote Speaker

Brooke Bauer, is a citizen of the Catawba Nation and an Assistant Professor of history at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Bauer's work focuses on the histories of Southeastern Native Americans and how they responded to the effects of colonialism. She is particularly fascinated with the stories of Native women, which is demonstrated in her recently published book, Becoming Catawba: Catawba Women and Nation-building, 1540-1840. In this work, Dr. Bauer examines the vital roles that Catawba women played in promoting and preserving Catawba identity. She weaves family history, cultural context, and ethnohistorical methodologies together to generate an internal perspective on Catawbas' past and present in the South. Becoming Catawba illuminates the changes that Catawba women created within their world to ensure the survival of their people.

Robert A. Williams, Jr.

Seventeenth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

March 31-April 1, 2022


Keynote Speaker

Robert A. Williams, Jr. (Enrolled Member, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) is Regents Professor, E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Chair of the University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. Professor Williams received his B.A. from Loyola College (1977) and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (1980). He is the author of The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest (1990), which received the Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Center Award as one of the outstanding books published in 1990 on the subject of prejudice in the United States.  He has also written Linking Arms Together: American Indian Treaty Visions of Law and Peace, 1600-1800 (1997), Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights and the Legal History of Racism in America (2005), and Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). He is co-author of Federal Indian Law: Cases and Materials (7th ed., with David Getches, Charles Wilkinson, Matthew Fletcher, and Kristen Carpenter, 2017). He received the Lawrence R. Baca Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Federal Indian Law in 2017 from the Federal Bar Association Indian Law Section. He was named the first Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (2003-2004), having previously served there as Bennet Boskey Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Law. The 2006 recipient of the University of Arizona Koffler Prize for Outstanding Accomplishments in Public Service, and the 2020 recipient of the University of Arizona Gerald G. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence, Professor Williams has received major grants and awards from the Soros Senior Justice Fellowship Program of the Open Society Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Institute of Justice, the Ford Foundation and NDN Collective. Interviewed by Bill Moyers and quoted on the front page of the New York Times, Professor Williams has represented tribal groups and members before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, the United States Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court of Canada. Professor Williams served as Chief Justice for the Court of Appeals, Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation, and as Justice for the Court of Appeals and trial judge pro tem for the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Devon Mihesuah

Sixteenth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

March 18-19, 2021


Keynote Speaker

Devon Mihesuah is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and is the Cora Lee Beers Price Professor in the Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. A historian by training, she is the author of numerous award-winning non-fiction and fiction books, including Ned Christie; Choctaw Crime and Punishment: 1884-1907; American Indigenous Women: Decolonization, Empowerment, Activism, and Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness. Her 18th book, Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health, co-edited with Elizabeth Hoover, was published last fall. She is former Editor of the American Indian Quarterly and the University Nebraska Press book series, “Contemporary Indigenous Issues.” She oversees the American Indian Health and Diet Project at KU and the Facebook page, Indigenous Eating.

In her address, "The Indigenous Food Sovereignty Movement in 2021," Devon Mihesuah will discuss the meaning and importance of food sovereignty for Native peoples in the United States. Despite the growing enthusiasm for Indigenous food and initiatives designed to empower tribes across the country to control their own food production, she asks whether and how food sovereignty can actually be achieved and sustained.

Sixteenth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference (Cancelled)

March 19-20, 2020

Museum of the Southeast American Indian

The UNC system issued a directive to help contain the Covid19 virus To comply with this directive, this year’s Southeast Indian Studies Conference is unfortunately canceled.

Stacey Halfmoon

Fifteenth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

March 21-22, 2019

Museum of the Southeast American Indian

Keynote Speaker

Stacey Halfmoon is a citizen of the Caddo Nation and is also a Choctaw Nation and Delaware Nation descendent.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma and over her 20 year career has completed innumerable trainings and courses in museum studies, cultural resource management, tribal consultation, and American Indian Federal Law.  Shortly after, in 1994, she began her career working for the Caddo Nation in Binger, Oklahoma in the Cultural Preservation Department.  Her time there spanned ten productive years and produced innumerable cultural projects as well as partnerships with federal, state and educational agencies in the four state area of the Caddo homeland – northwest Louisiana, southwest Arkansas, southeast Oklahoma and northeast Texas. 

In 2001, Stacey served on assignment to the U.S. Department of Defense in the role of the Senior Tribal Liaison in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment). During the appointment, she managed DOD’s Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP).  Another primary duty was national implementation of DOD's American Indian and Alaska Native Policy. This included organizing American Indian Cultural Communication Courses aimed to educate military personnel about American Indian history, policy, and consultation required under federal law.   

She returned to Oklahoma and served as Director of Community Outreach and Museum Programs at The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum until 2015.  Located in downtown Oklahoma City and envisioned as the premier destination for sharing the histories and cultures of the thirty-nine Tribal Nations in Oklahoma, Stacey revitalized the project’s tribal outreach efforts. She also served on the Leadership Team supporting institutional development, exhibition design, architectural coordination and development of educational programs and events.

Stacey relocated to Columbus, Ohio in 2015 to serve as the Director of American Indian Relations for the Ohio History Connection.  At the Ohio History Connection, she promotes knowledge and understanding of American Indians history in Ohio and fosters collaborative relationships with the many federally-recognized tribes who hold deep connections to Ohio. Under her leadership, the organization has established an annual Tribal Nations Conference, implemented a guidance document for the American Indian sites managed by the Ohio History Connection, and is developing its first American Indian Policy.        

Dr. Ryan Emanuel

Fourteenth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

April 12-13, 2018

Museum of the Southeast American Indian

Keynote Speaker

Ryan Eugene Emanuel is Associate Professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State University.  The title of his talk is Indigenous Peoples and the 21st Century Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for American Indians in the Southeast. Indigenous peoples have deep cultural connections to the natural world that are far more complex than western fantasies and stereotypes.  These connections are strong, but they can be stressed by environmental planning and policies that do not fully appreciate or respect indigenous values, priorities, and cultures.  Dr. Emanuel examines some of these environmental stress points, focusing on American Indians in the southeastern United States, where tribal communities and individuals face numerous environmental challenges ranging from proposed gas pipelines to climate change.  Efforts to address these challenges are complicated by economic, policy, and other factors.  Nevertheless, tribes and individuals continue to uphold cultural beliefs and connections to place despite long odds, highlighting the creativity and resilience of indigenous peoples living in a 21st century environment.

Dr. Emanuel is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe.  Ryan leads a research team at NC State that focuses on water, natural ecosystems, and society.  He partners with American Indian tribes and organizations in North Carolina on topics related to environmental science and policy.  In 2017, he published a letter in the journal Science on flawed environmental justice analyses and their implications for indigenous peoples living along the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Ryan holds a PhD and MS in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia, and a BS in Geology from Duke University. He serves on the NC Commission of Indian Affairs’ Environmental Justice Committee and has received a national service award from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society for his work with American Indian high school, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Dr. Craig Womack

Thirteenth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

April 6, 2017

Museum of the Southeast American Indian

Keynote Speaker

Craig Womack teaches in the English Department at Emory University and is the author of Art as Performance, Story as Criticism. He is a writer, teacher, activist, and musician.

Twelfth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference 

April 7-8, 2016

Museum of the Southeast American Indian, Old Main

LeAnne Howe

LeAnne Howe is the author of novels, plays, poetry, screenplays, and scholarship that deal with Native experiences. A Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma citizen, her latest book, Choctalking on Other Realities (2013) won the inaugural 2014 MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. She received the Western Literature Association’s 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award for her body of work. Other awards include the Fulbright Scholarship 2010-2011 to Jordan; the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; American Book Award 2002, and a 2012 United States Artists Ford Fellowship, an award that carries a stipend of $50,000. She’s the Eidson Distinguished Professor of American Literature in English at the University of Georgia. Howe’s current projects include a new poetry book, Savage Conversations; a new novel set in the Middle East, and Searching for Sequoyah, a documentary film with Ojibwe filmmaker, James M. Fortier, and the Director of the Native American Institute Dr. Jace Weaver. Filming begins in Oklahoma in March 2016.

Eleventh Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

April 16-17, 2015

University Center Annex

Dr. Melanie Benson Taylor
Photo credit Eli Burakian.

Tenth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

April 10-11, 2014

University Center Annex

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Melanie Benson Taylor is an associate professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, working at the intersections of Native and U.S. Southern literature and culture. She is the author of Disturbing Calculations: The Economics of Identity in Postcolonial Southern Literature, 1912-2002 (University of Georgia Press, 2008) and Reconstructing the Native South: American Indian Literature and the Lost Cause (University of Georgia Press, 2012), as well as essays on William Faulkner, Louis Owens, Barry Hannah, Dawn Karima Pettigrew, and others. Her current book projects include Indian Killers, an exploration of violence in contemporary American literature by and about Native peoples, and Faulkner’s Doom, a study of Faulkner’s Indian characters as refractions of economic anxiety in the modern South.

Lynette Lewis Allston

Ninth Annual Southeast Indian Studies Conference

April 11-12, 2013

The Regional Center at COMtech

Keynote Speaker

Lynette Lewis Allston resides in the place where she spent her formative years through high school, on the family farm in Drewryville, (Southampton County) Virginia. A graduate of Duke University with a degree in History and certification in secondary education, she maintained a dual residency in South Carolina and Virginia and returned to Virginia after retiring from two decades of business ownership in South Carolina. Since the death of her maternal grandparents in 1987, she has operated the family farm that has been passed down through multiple generations. Lynette is currently Chief and Chair of the Tribal Council of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, one of 11 Tribes officially recognized by the Commonwealth. Her organizational and leadership skills are evident in the many years devoted to community initiatives. Under her leadership, the primary focus of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia has been to offer educational outreach and opportunities to close the gap that exists in understanding the history and culture of the Nottoway Indians. She is co-author of the book entitled, DoTraTung, which offers a compelling look at the history, culture and lifestyle of the Nottoway Indians. DoTraTung, the Nottoway word for “New Moon”, symbolizes a fresh outlook for the future of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia.