Skip to main content
/ Events / Portraying Indigenous Peoples: Educator, Cast and Crew Workshop

Portraying Indigenous Peoples: Educator, Cast and Crew Workshop

Portraying Indigenous Peoples: Educator, Cast and Crew Workshop

Join Dr. Paul Worley, Dr. Melissa Birkhofer and Ms. Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle for this day-long retreat to discuss representations of Indigenous cultures in theater. Participants will be selected from amongst students of theatre at App State and professionals involved in Horn in the West, Lees-McRae Summer Theatre and other productions. Attendees will share their experiences, reflect on literary texts and performance strategies and engage in group activities geared toward honing and refining their skills.

This program is the fourth one in High Country Humanities’ ongoing series “Connecting Local and Global Rural Cultures.” This series of talks, workshops, demonstrations and film screenings is supported by a grant from North Carolina Humanities. Each event is designed for general audiences and will help the campus and broader public learn about the stories, histories and traditions of rural communities from our state and around the world.

This is event is FREE and a meal will be provided. Registration is required.


App State is committed to providing an inclusive experience for individuals with disabilities. If accommodations are needed in order to fully participate on the basis of a disability, contact the Office of Disability Resources (828-262-3056). It is recommended that accommodation requests be made two weeks prior to the event.

About Dr. Melissa Birkhofer

Dr. Melissa Birkhofer is a settler scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor in Appalachian State’s Department of English where she teaches courses on Latine and Indigenous Literatures. In 2023, she and Dr. Paul Worley won the North Carolina Literary Review’s John Ehle Award for their article, “She Said That Saint Augustine Is Worth Nothing Compared to Her Homeland: Teresa Martín and the Méndez Cancio Account of La Tama (1600).” Her article, “Toward a Feminist Latina Mode of Literary Analysis in Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents,” was published in Convergences. With Dr. Worley, she co-translated Miguel Rocha Vivas’s Word Mingas from UNC Press. She was the founding director of the Latinx Studies Program at Western Carolina University and is a co-director of the journal Label Me Latina/o.

About Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

Annette Clapsaddle is an enrolled citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and resides in Qualla with her husband, Evan, and sons Ross and Charlie. She holds degrees from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. Her debut novel, Even As We Breathe, was released by the University Press of Kentucky in 2020, a finalist for the Weatherford Award and named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020. In 2021, it received the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. Her first novel manuscript, Going to Water, is winner of the Morning Star Award for Creative Writing from the Native American Literature Symposium (2012) and a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (2014). Clapsaddle’s work has appeared in Yes! Magazine, Lit Hub, Salvation South, South Writ Large, Our State Magazine, Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure Magazine and The Atlantic. After serving as executive director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, Annette returned to teaching at Swain County High School for over a dozen years. She is the former co-editor of the Journal of Cherokee Studies and serves on the Board of Directors for the Museum of the Cherokee People and is the President of the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Writers Network. Clapsaddle established Bird Words, LLC in 2022 and works as an independent contractor and consultant. In 2023, in partnership with Museum of the Cherokee People, Clapsaddle launched “Confluence: An Indigenous Writers’ Workshop Series” that seeks to bring Indigenous writers to the Qualla Boundary (Cherokee, NC) to work with aspiring writers several times throughout the year.

About Dr. Paul Worley

Dr. Paul Worley is a settler scholar from Charleston, South Carolina, and Professor of Spanish at Appalachian State University, where he serves as Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Co-written with Rita M. Palacios, his most recent book, Unwriting Maya Literature: Ts’íib as Recorded Knowledge (2019), was given an honorable mention for Best Book in the Humanities by LASA’s Mexico Section. He is also the author of Telling and Being Told: Storytelling and Cultural Control in Contemporary Yucatec Maya Literatures, and a Fulbright Scholar. Together with Dr. Melissa Birkhofer, he is co-translator of Miguel Rocha Vivas’s Word Mingas (2021), whose Spanish edition won Cuba’s Casa de las Américas Prize in 2016. He has also translated selected works by Indigenous authors such as Hubert Matiúwàa (Mè’phàà), Celerina Sánchez (Mixteco), Manuel Tzoc (K’iche’) and Ruperta Bautista (Tsotsil).

About High Country Humanities

High Country Humanities at Appalachian State University aims to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the humanities across the High Country region of North Carolina. The program supports faculty in their scholarly activities, promotes their collaborations with community partners and organizes events that help their expertise reach the wider public. High Country Humanities is an initiative of App State’s College of Arts and Sciences, with support from the Division of Academic Affairs. Learn more at


For more information, please contact:

Dr. Darci Gardner
Director of High Country Humanities