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2023 Diversity Symposium Session Descriptions

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Reclaiming Athens’ Indigenous Past & Present: Consultation & Collaboration

James F. Brooks, Ph.D., Carl and Sally Gable Distinguished Professor of History, Institute of Native American Studies, University of Georgia

The University of Georgia's Institute of Native American Studies Indigenizing Athens project is ongoing. Professor Brooks will discuss the recent installation of four interpretive banners in the Historic Athens Visitor Center, and he will describe the consultative and collaborative process his team enjoyed with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians at Quallah Boundary and the Muskogee Nation in Oklahoma. The year ahead will be a project linking the dispossession of these peoples to the advance of the Cotton Planting Frontier and thousands of enslaved Africans on to the Oconee Piedmont in the 19th century.

James F. Brooks, Ph.D.

Carl and Sally Gable Distinguished Professor of History, Institute of Native American Studies, University of Georgia

James F. Brooks is an interdisciplinary scholar of theJames Brooks, Ph.D. Indigenous and Colonial past, having held professorial appointments at the University of Maryland, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Berkeley, as well as fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, and Vanderbilt University’s Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. In 2002 he became director of SAR Press, and between 2005 and 2013 served as president of SAR. He recently concluded ten year’s service on the Board of Directors of the Western National Parks Association, which supports research, preservation and education in 67 National Parks, including Coronado National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and Channel Islands National Park. A Trustee of the Santa Barbara Mission Archive/Library, James also serves as advisory scholar to the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History.  He maintains a Research Professor appointment at UCSB to support graduate training, and holds the position of Senior Consulting Editor of The Public Historian, the flagship journal of that discipline, which hosts graduate student assistant editors from UGA under the Gable Editorial Training program.

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Session A

Panel Discussion - Reclamation of Gender Variance: Finding Power and Progress in Cyclical Political Climates

Moderated by William Britto, Assistant Director, LGBTQIA Resource Center, Georgia Tech

In recent times, western culture has experienced changes in political climates, where advancements in gender equity have been met with challenges and setbacks. This panel discussion seeks to address the rebirth of past political environments, including how they impact the experiences of non-binary, transgender, genderqueer, and gender-nonconforming individuals through the lens of two-spirit experiences. The panelists will explore how political climates empower and disenfranchise these marginalized communities, with a focus on identifying strategies to foster resilience and progress even in the face of adversity. 

Additionally, our esteemed panelists will analyze historical and contemporary struggles for gender variance recognition and identify strategies to foster progress and resilience even in challenging political climates. Together, we will ignite a collective drive towards a more inclusive and equitable society, celebrating and embracing gender variance in all its forms. 

Tavi Hawn
Tavi Hawn

Transgender Therapist & Founder, Reclaim & Rise Therapy

Tavi Hawn, Tsalagi, multi-racial, is a Two Spirit, Indigiqueer, nonbinary healer who works with Indian Country Trans ECHO, Native American Lifelines, and Reclaim and Rise Therapy. Tavi has been serving in the mental health and healing justice fields for over 15 years. They are author of The Gender Identity Guide for Parents and Cultural Awareness in Therapy with Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender NonConforming Adults. Tavi is the parent of a three year old, loves to dance, walk in the woods, eat, hug their elders, and play their hand drum and drum kit. 


Channette Romero, Ph.D.

Channette Romero, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Georgia

Channette Romero is associate professor of English and Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. She is the author of Activism and the American Novel (published in 2012), as well as numerous essays on Indigenous literature and film.  She is currently completing a book that explores Native filmmakers’ growing appropriation of genre films—especially science fiction, horror, animation, Westerns, and sports movies.  She’s also begun working on her third book on the importance of centering Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer voices in the burgeoning Indigenous futurism movement.  She believes those individuals most damaged by settler colonialism provide the clearest view of its legacy and the most promising paths to navigating beyond it towards more life-affirming potential futures.   

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Session B

Panel Discussion - Reclaiming Native American Places in Public Spaces 

Moderated by Amy Bass Henry, Executive Director, Office of International Education, Georgia Tech

This thought-provoking panel aims to address the historical erasure and marginalization of Native American heritage within public spaces and explores strategies for reclamation, cultural preservation, and fostering greater understanding and respect. Together, we will engage in a profound exploration of the challenges, opportunities, and collaborative efforts required to recognize and honor the rich cultural significance of Native American places in the public sphere.

The panelists will delve into a wide range of topics, including the significance of preserving sacred sites, addressing the implications of misrepresentation and appropriation of Native American culture, and exploring the role of art, education, and public awareness in promoting cultural sensitivity. By fostering an open dialogue, attendees will gain a deeper appreciation of the contributions of Native American communities to the broader cultural fabric of our society and the urgent need to amplify their voices and rights. 

Andrew Denson, Ph.D.
Andrew Denson, Ph.D.

Professor / Director of Cherokee Studies, Department of History, Western Carolina University

Andrew Denson teaches history at Western Carolina University and is director of WCU's interdisciplinary Cherokee Studies program. He is the author of Demanding the Cherokee Nation: Indian Autonomy and American Culture and Monuments to Absences: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory, as well as essays in various journals and collections. His research focuses on public memory and commemoration in the Native American South.


Tracie Revis, J.D.Tracie Revis, J.D.

Director of Advocacy, Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative

Tracie Revis, MHR, J.D., is the Director of Advocacy for the Ocmulgee National Park and Preserve Initiative and previously the first female Chief of Staff for Principal Chief David Hill at the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Oklahoma. During her time at the Nation, she also served as the Acting Tribal Administrator and then briefly as the Acting Secretary of Housing.  As an Oklahoma licensed attorney, she has dedicated her career towards serving Indian Country and has previously served in tribal, urban, and legislative capacities. Tracie Revis is Yuchi and Muscogee (Creek), is of the wolf clan, and belongs to the Polecat ceremonial ground, where she participates in her traditional culture. 

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Session C

Remarks & Discussion - Empathy & Cultural Competency: Building an Intertribal Community in an Academic Environment

Remarks by Santee Frazier, Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, St. Lawrence University, and Chelsea Rathburn, Poet Laureate of Georgia
Discussion moderated by Carol Colatrella, Ph.D., Professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication; Co-Director, Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology, Georgia Tech

This session will feature extended remarks by Santee Frazier, Viebranz Professor of Creative Writing at St. Lawrence University, who will speak about his experience directing a Master of Fine Arts program in a large university. He will also read and discuss some of his poetry, while reflecting on contemporary topics, including the Indigenous intellectual and food sovereignty. Chelsea Rathburn, Poet Laureate of Georgia, will respond to his talk.

Santee Frazier, M.F.A.

Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, St. LawrenceSantee Frazier, M.F.A. University

A citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Santee Frazier earned a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Syracuse University. His first collection of poems, Dark Thirty (2009), was published in the University of Arizona Press Sun Tracks Series. Frazier’s honors include a Fall 2009 Lannan Residency Fellowship, 2011 School for Advanced Research Indigenous Writer in Residence, and the 2014 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Literature Fellowship. His second collection of poems, Aurum, was released in 2019 by The University of Arizona Press. He served as Director of the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA in Creative Writing and visiting faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers. He is currently the Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative writing at St. Lawrence University.


Chelsea Rathburn, M.F.A.

Associate Professor of English-Creative Writing, Mercer University; Poet Laureate of Georgia
Chelsea Rathburn

Chelsea Rathburn was born in Jacksonville, Florida and raised in Miami, but her maternal family has lived in Georgia since the 1800s. A first-generation college student, she received a BA from Florida State University and an MFA from the University of Arkansas before moving to Georgia in 2001. She is the author of Still Life with Mother and Knife (Louisiana State University Press, 2019), winner of the 2020 Eric Hoffer Award in Poetry, A Raft of Grief (Autumn House, 2013), and The Shifting Line (University of Evansville, 2005). She has taught at Emory University and at Young Harris College, where she designed and directed the undergraduate creative writing program. In 2019, she was appointed the poet laureate of Georgia. In 2021, Rathburn received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship to support the creation of Georgia Poetry in the Parks. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she currently teaches at Mercer University and lives in Macon, Georgia.