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Cherokee to share stories of 1800s for Native American Heritage Month

Robert RedHawk Eldridge will speak during UNG's celebration of National Native American Heritage Month in November. His speech is at noon Wednesday, Nov. 4, via Zoom.

As a Cherokee, Robert RedHawk Eldridge travels across the country to share stories about his Native American ancestors and culture. This month, he will talk to students at the University of North Georgia (UNG).

Eldridge will speak during UNG's celebration of National Native American Heritage Month in November. His speech is at noon Wednesday, Nov. 4, via Zoom. A link to the speech is available in UNG Connect. UNG students, faculty, and staff must register to access the video conferencing link.

"RedHawk Eldridge will offer students a level of authentic storytelling about the Cherokee history that isn't often found in literature," said Wade Manora Jr., assistant director of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA), who asked Eldridge to speak at UNG. "I had the privilege of speaking with him one-on-one and to hear him speak with such passion, love and accuracy about his heritage is indeed a treat. For students, this experience is one that you do not want to miss."

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its guidelines, Eldridge will reach students virtually and provide them a glimpse into life around 1828. Usually, he demonstrates the life of the early 1800s Cherokee people with an encampment complete with a wedge tent, cooking area, and all the necessities for survival in the Overhill Cherokee area of east Tennessee and north Georgia.

"Eldridge has the ability to take the words we have read about and move them into a living pillar of a history that is very much alive," Manora said. "What students can learn from him is absent from history class."

Dr. Robert Robinson, director of MSA, said Native American history is significant in northeast Georgia since the region once home to several Native American tribes before they were removed from their lands in what came to be called the Trail of Tears.

"Native American history is American history," he said. "So much of Native American culture is such a part of us today that we don't even notice it. For example, the city of the Dahlonega name comes from a Cherokee word meaning gold."

MSA celebrates cultural heritage months to recognize of UNG's diverse student body, he said.

 "Cultural heritage months allow us the unique opportunity to explore the cultural identity and historical impact which various cultures had in contributing to the making of America," Robinson said.

Other days and months that MSA observes include:

  • Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15-Oct. 15
  • LGBTQ+ History Monthin October
  • National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11
  • Native American Heritage Month in November
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January
  • Black History Month in February
  • Women's History Month in March
  • Patrick's Day in March
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May

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