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2013 Lecture Series
All lectures take place on Monday evenings at 7:00 PM in the Tennessee Aquarium Auditorium.
picSeptember 30
Jack D. Baker
National President, Trail of Tears Association
Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Member

JACK D. BAKER was born on his grandfather’s Cherokee allotment at Chewey, Adair County, Oklahoma. As a result of the Trail of Tears, he is an eighth generation Oklahoman. Many of his Cherokee ancestors lived in present East Tennessee. One of them, Hair Conrad, led the first detachment that left in the fall of 1838 after the Cherokees took over their forced removal.

Baker is currently a member of the Tribal Council of the Cherokee Nation and represents those Cherokee citizens residing outside of the Cherokee Nation. The Tribal Council is the legislature for the Cherokee Nation and appropriates more than $600 million annually.

He is national president of the Trail of Tears Association and works with the National Park Service and other publicly and privately owned sites historically connected to the Trail of Tears. As president of the Association, he testified at the congressional hearing on Moccasin Bend in favor of its becoming a part of the National Park system.

Baker is the treasurer of the Cherokee National Historical Society. He is also a board member of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is president of Goingsnake District Heritage Association. He is also a board member of the Cherokee-Moravian Historical Association.

He has done extensive Cherokee research for over 40 years and has authored, advised and edited various articles, books and documentaries on Cherokee history. In 2007, he was awarded the Principal Chief’s Leadership Award for his work to preserve Cherokee history and his contributions to the Cherokee Nation.

October 28
Principal Chief Bill John Baker
Cherokee Nation

PRINCIPAL CHIEF BILL JOHN BAKER currently serves as the 17th elected chief of the Cherokee Nation, the largest Indian tribe in the United States. Born and raised in Cherokee County, he is married to Sherry (Robertson) Baker. Principal Chief Baker has devoted much of his life in service to the Cherokee people. He spent 12 years as a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council and was elected Principal Chief in October 2011.

During his time on the council, Principal Chief Baker worked tirelessly to improve education, health care and job creation throughout the Cherokee Nation. During his first year in office, 750 new Cherokees were hired, and new home construction resumed for the first time in a decade. Principal Chief Baker is currently working on a comprehensive plan to renovate and expand the Cherokee Nation health care system, which is the largest tribally operated health system in the United States.

With more than 315,000 citizens and nearly 9,000 employees, the Cherokee Nation is one of the largest employers in northeastern Oklahoma. A recent economic impact report showed Cherokee Nation has a $1.2-billion impact on the area.

Principal Chief Baker is a graduate of Tahlequah High School and Northeastern State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and history, with minors in psychology and sociology. He has been a small business owner in Tahlequah for more than 40 years.

Principal Chief Baker resides with his wife in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They have been blessed with six children and are the proud grandparents of nine.


November 18
James H. Ogden III,  National Park Historian   
Lawrence S. Alexander,  Archaeologist

JAMES H. OGDEN III is a native of St. Mary's County, Maryland.  Interested in the Civil War since childhood, he obtained a degree in American history through the Civil War period and American military history from Frostburg State College. 

Beginning work with the National Park Service in 1982, he has been stationed at several parks throughout the Southeast. Since 1988, he has served as historian at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

Ogden speaks regularly to historical organizations across the U.S. He has taught a number of Civil War history courses at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has published numerous short articles in several local publications. Ogden has appeared in educational and public television programs. Jim, his wife Lora, and their son Jamie live in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.


LAWRENCE S. ALEXANDER received a B.A. from the University of Nevada and his M.A. in anthropology from The University of Alabama. He specializes in archaeology and  geomorphology of the Southeastern United States,  and has been the project director and author of more than 200 major cultural resource management projects.

He has completed geo-archaeological interpretations of prehistoric sites throughout the upland Southeast, and has contributed archaeological project reports for the Department of Transportation, Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Army, Redstone Arsenal, United States Military Academy, West Point, National Park Service and private clients.

He began work on Moccasin Bend in 1982, and in 2009 completed the Archaeological Overview and Assessment of the Moccasin Bend National Archeological District.

Lawrence has resided in Chattanooga since 1986 and is the owner and CEO of Alexander Archaeological Consultants.


Continuing the fine legacy established in 2006, lectures are underwritten by Greg A. Vital, President of Independent Healthcare Properties, LLC.




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