UNC junior, Blake Hite of the Cherokee Nation and Lumbee Tribe, is on the path to becoming a promising Native leader.
Blake is double majoring in American Indian and Indigenous Studies and Anthropology. After graduation, he plans to obtain a PhD in Anthropology with a focus on contemporary American Indian societies. His goal is to illuminate the stories and lived experiences of present day American Indians.
Blake was recently accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, part of the Carolina Higher Education Opportunity Program (CHEOP) Office which will provide him with programming and mentorship that will support him throughout his journey to attain a PhD. Blake remembers feeling simultaneously happy, anxious and excited when he received notification of his acceptance into the program. “I feel very excited and happy knowing that I will be able to work with other great students as we work towards our dreams”, Blake said.
Additionally, Blake participated in the Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) which works to preserve the voices of southern past. All together this program has “collected 6,000 interviews with people from all walks of life—from mill workers to civil rights leaders to future presidents of the United States.” Specifically, Blake assisted with updating the SOHP soundcloud playlist and contributed content to the field notes blog, and conducted interviews of his own. He learned how important stories are in initiating change in society. “From the interviews that I listened to, by the narrators telling their stories, they were able to inspire others to change their surroundings. One interview that sticks out to me was one on Ruth Dial-Woods. In this interview, she believes that by telling her story, it will inspire others to pick up the torch to initiate needed change to society.”
His group’s research was so profound that they will be presenting it at the Oral History Association Conference in Montreal, Canada on October 13th, 2018. When asked how he felt about presenting in Canada, he said, “I feel a little bit nervous but mostly excited. I always wanted to visit another country and this will give me the opportunity to travel abroad and to build up my public speaking skills.” Later he shared that this will be his first time flying on an airplane and that he has a fear of heights. He said, “…. so this will be a very interesting experience for me. I am nervous but I am focusing on just being in Canada and meeting other people who enjoy oral history and storytelling.”
This semester, Blake is working as a research assistant in the Research Labs of Archaeology, where his main responsibilities are to clean and catalog artifacts that were recently excavated from the Feltus Mound, not far from Natchez, Mississippi.
We at the American Indian Center are so proud of Blake. He has previously served as our Student Ambassador, Clan Leader for the Carolina Horizons Program, and volunteered at many AIC hosted events. We have no doubt that Blake will achieve both academically and professionally. He is sure to reach new personal heights.