T.J. Holland is the Cultural Resources Manager for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina and curator of the tribally-owned Junaluska Museum on the Snowbird reservation. His research at the APS focused on the spiritual, political, and social dimensions of the Cherokee stickball game. The Frank Speck collections contain numerous photographs and ethnographic descriptions of the ceremonies and dances that were performed at the time of stickball games. Mr. Holland is still actively involved in keeping the traditional aspects of stickball alive in his community, refereeing games for the Snowbird team and telling stories to the players about games played in the 1800s, some of which he was kind enough to share in the Cherokee exhibit on this site. He is currently working on an exhibit about stickball for the Junaluska Museum in partnership with the American Philosophical Society, the National Anthropological Archives, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Thomas Belt is a distinguished elder and fluent Cherokee speaker who was born in the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. He currently works for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in North Carolina and is Elder-in-Residence at the Cherokee Studies Program at Western Carolina University, where he works on language preservation and cultural revitalization. He received a Getty Fellowship at the American Philosophical Society to study the Cherokee language recordings made by Frank Speck between 1937-1944. The Society provided Mr. Belt with digital copies of this material so that they could be returned to the community for use in the Cherokee total immersion school at the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program.