Sketch of a fiddle with the words "Native Songs of Southern Appalachia: Social Change and Cherokee Music Tradition/A Lecture with Dr. James Owen/Saturday, April 2: 10 AM-12 PM" superimposed over image

Lecture: Native Songs of Southern Appalachia (at Vance Birthplace)


On Saturday, April 2, the Mountain History and Culture Group will present an annual lecture at the Vance Birthplace. This year's speaker, Dr. James Owen, will examine Cherokee Music Traditions during his talk entitled, Native Songs of Southern Appalachia: Social Change and Cherokee Music Traditions.

This program is free and open to the public and will be held at the Vance Birthplace State Historic Site at 911 Reems Creek Road, Weaverville NC, 28787, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the picnic shelter, in the Visitor Center in the case of inclement weather. Seating capacity is limited.

Lecture: 10:15 am-11:00 am

Question and Answer: 11:00 am-11:30 am

James Owen is Assistant Professor of US History and Native American Studies and Assistant Director of UGA’s Institute of Native American Studies. His interdisciplinary work engages indigenous language revitalization, ethnomusicology, ethnobotany, and ethnozoology, and American religious history. He researches indigenous and creole language documents from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, with a focus on native interpretations of Christian hymns and biblical narratives. He writes about the ways indigenous and creole language hymns reflect indigenized Christian faiths. His work demonstrates that knowledge shared in multi-ethnic mission communities shaped both evangelical Christianity in the Americas and distinct indigenous faiths that emerged during colonization and westward expansion. He held fellowships with the Newberry Library and the American Musicological Society. James is currently a researcher for Rebecca Nagle’s This Land podcast and is also working on a book Singing the Holy Spirit, on syncretic religion among Southeast and Caribbean indigenous communities between 1740 and 1840. His article "Come Holy Spirit, Lord God: The Holy Ghost in the Cherokee Mountains" appears in Seeking Home: Marginalization and Representation in Appalachian Literature and Song.