Keynote Speaker Announced for 2024 New River Symposium

Keynote Speaker Announced for 2024 New River Symposium

New River Conservancy is pleased to announce Chief Jamie Poteat Harris, the Chief of the New River Catawba Nation, as the Keynote Speaker for 2024 New River Symposium, April 11-12, at Radford University in the City of Radford, Virginia.   Chief Harris will open the Friday session at 9:00 am on April 12, 2024.

Members of the New River Catawba Nation are the modern-day descendants of the original Catawba people who migrated here around 1200 AD. In their language, Tla Wilano, they are known as the Wagahattamnegleechee Odah.  The Catawba originated as an Eastern Siouan Nation who, since “time immemorial” have occupied lands in the mountains, foothills and Piedmont regions of North Carolina and Virginia.

“We are incredibly honored to have Chief Harris as our Keynote Speaker for the 2024 New River Symposium.   The theme this year is ‘Rivers Cubed: Reconnect, Restore, Recreate.’ As a descendant of the original Catawba people, Chief Harris not only brings a wealth of knowledge, a sense of continuity and place to our event, she is a link in which we can reconnect to the past of our beloved New River.” says Elizabeth Underwood, Executive Director for the New River Conservancy.

As Chief, Harris serves as the contact person between the Tribe and both Federal and State agencies. She oversees all Tribe activities and is the “face” of the New River Catawba Nation at all public functions.

Chief Harris attended Lenoir- Rhyne University where she obtained degrees in both Biology and Secondary Science Education. She taught in North Carolina public schools for 31 years. Her favorite topic, because of her Native American upbringing, was Earth/ Environmental Science.  When teaching Earth/ Environmental Science, Chief Harris was able to pass on the Native American view of our planet, its resources and our obligation to be good stewards of mother Earth. She is also the author of “History of the New River Catawba”

Chief Harris is married, with two children and four grandchildren.  She loves spending time with her family and tribe learning about the “old ways” and enjoying the great outdoors.

New River Symposium 2024 runs April 11- April 12.  For more information and to register for the 2024 New River Symposium, visit HERE.

Chief Jamie Poteat Harris, of the New River Catawba Nation. 

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