Museum Staff

Shana Bushyhead Condill

(Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

Executive Director

Shana Bushyhead Condill has worked in the museum and cultural field for over twenty years. In her current role as Executive Director of the Museum of the Cherokee People in Cherokee, North Carolina, Condill furthers a career-spanning commitment to cultivating Native representation and self-representation in public spaces, advocating for the intentional combining of mainstream best practices with Native best practices in cultural preservation.

For Condill, cultural perpetuation is a family value: in the 1990s, her grandfather, Robert H. Bushyhead, working with her aunt Jean Bushyhead and uncle Eddie Bushyhead, developed educational resources to perpetuate the Cherokee language, building a foundation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ current language initiative, the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program. Condill’s arrival at MotCP in 2021 was a full-circle career moment: her first professional museum experience was at her own tribal museum, where, as a college student eager to gain public history experience and Cherokee knowledge, she assisted in MotCP’s archives. That summer in Cherokee, she also led tours as a guide at Cherokee Historical Association’s Oconaluftee Indian Village, following in the footsteps of her aunt, who also worked at the living history museum, and her grandfather, who played Elias Boudinot in Cherokee Historical’s dramatic production Unto These Hills.

Holding degrees from Wesleyan University and the University of Delaware, Condill’s professional experience has taken her to museums and cultural institutions across the country. At the 200 Acres, a sixth-generation farm in Illinois, she created exhibitions for 80,000 annual visitors in a 1910 one-room schoolhouse and at the Amish Interpretive Center. While at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, she managed financials, contractors, and human resources of a combined 126-acre site that includes the home of a descendant of George Washington and a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Before her appointment at MotCP, Condill worked in the Communications and Content Strategy, Publishing, and Branding departments of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, serving on the museum’s Mission, Values and DEIA committees. Presently, Condill serves on the board of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and the Book Publishing Advisory Council of the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and was appointed to the North Carolina Historical Commission.

Collections & Archives

Lilyan Wright

(Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

Registrar

Lilyan Wright is a member of the Bird Clan and resides in the Wolftown Community. She was born and raised on the Qualla Boundary. After high school, she attended college at Appalachian State University, and during adulthood she has fallen deeper and deeper in love with her traditions and culture. She has devoted her career to the preservation of Cherokee culture and its rich history. She first learned how to fingerweave at the age of nine years old. Myra Climbingbear taught her fingerweaving and Cherokee language. Lily credits Myra for giving her the love for both, thanks Myra for her teachings, and is honored that she was able to learn from her. Lily will forever strive to share the gift Myra gave her to others in her community. Today, Lily’s crafts include finger weaving, moccasin making, and wood carving. Lily’s uncle, Bo Lossiah, who is a fluent Cherokee language speaker, helped form her into the person she is. His love of our language motivates her to learn all that she can, so she can help pass down that knowledge to the next seven generations. Lily is thankful for her fellow EBCI that have shared their knowledge with her, allowing her to carry on some of our oldest traditions. She wants to say a big sgi (thank you), to the Cherokee before her and the Cherokee today who have and continue to strive to preserve our culture and language.

Evan Mathis

Director of Collections & Exhibitions

Evan Mathis joined the Museum of the Cherokee People in 2021 after years of managing the supply department of the Cherokee Indian Hospital. While not an enrolled member, Mathis is an artist with strong ties to the Cherokee community. He began creating beadwork at age 15 under the apprenticeship of Eastern Band of Cherokee artists, and has traveled throughout the United States to study historic Cherokee beaded objects and material culture in hopes of making it more accessible to the community. He graduated from University of North Carolina Charlotte with a bachelor of arts degree in history and is currently enrolled in the Museum Studies Certificate Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Evan is committed to fostering a welcoming, community-centered environment where tribal members can learn about the objects and archives in the Museum’s care. He was co-curator of Disruption, an artist intervention installed throughout the Museum of the Cherokee People’s permanent exhibition which invited 36 Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation artists to respond to the removal of funerary and culturally sensitive objects from public view.

Robin Swayney

(Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

Genealogist

Robin Swayney is the Genealogist here at the Museum; prior to that, she was the Manager of Qualla Boundary Public Library. Robin holds a bachelor of arts in Fine Arts from Guilford College and an associate’s degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta. She is a frequent presenter at genealogist conferences and meetings and is active in various genealogy organizations. Robin’s dedication to the local Cherokee community is inspiring: she was instrumental in the revitalization and optimal functioning of the Cherokee Qualla Boundary Historical Society, which she still serves presently. She is currently the Tribal Liaison for the North Carolina Trail of Tears Association, the Jackson County Arts Council board, and The Cherokee Indian Hospital Medical Indian Rights.

Cammie Bello

Manager of Collections

A 2019 graduate of University of North Carolina Asheville with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and Classical Civilizations, Cammie holds a Master of Arts degree in Art History from John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. With international experience in archival research and the processing of archaeological materials, Bello is proficient in curation, exhibit design, object installation and deinstallation, and collections moves.

Passionate about classical cultures, Bello brings an interest in art repatriations as a human rights issue to her work at the Museum. In 2022, she completed a post-graduate program through the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art in Amelia, Italy, and looks critically at global art theft, forgery, destruction, and protection of cultural heritage through art.

She plans to make access to Museum collections a high priority for enrolled tribal citizens and researchers, reconnect Museum collections and archives with living makers, and show artists that their objects are well-cared for and accessible.

Operations

Michael Slee

(Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

Director of Operations

Michael Slee arrived at the Museum in 2021 following a decade at Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Transit. He is a graduate of Western Carolina University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Law. Michael is a member of the Longhair Clan and a member of both Raven Rock Stomp Grounds and the Walelu Indian Ball Team. He resides in the Birdtown community of Cherokee with his wife and three children.

Alex Lane

(Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

Manager of Visitor Services

A graduate of Swain High School who grew up in Bryson City, North Carolina, Alex Lane earned degrees in fashion merchandising and consumer journalism from the University of Georgia. While living in Los Angeles, she earned a Professional Designation Associate of Arts degree in Beauty Marketing and Product Development, going on to manage large teams in the fast-paced environment of Ulta Beauty stores in Chicago and Asheville. Alex and her husband moved home to North Carolina to raise their first child. Drawn to the opportunity to serve her tribe and community, Alex joined the Museum team in 2022.

Anna Chandler

Manager of External Affairs & Communications

Anna Chandler joined the MotCP staff in 2021. Raised in Greenville, South Carolina, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration and Writing. After six years of working as a community journalist, editor, and freelance writer in Savannah, Georgia and interviewing organizers and creatives about the transformative power of art in communities, her career path turned toward managing communications for arts organizations and museums. Anna currently lives in Asheville and is pursuing a master’s degree in Museum Studies through Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves on the North Carolina Museums Council board.

Tyra Maney

(Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Diné)

Designer

Tyra Maney is 25 years old and an enrolled citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians with Diné heritage on her maternal side. She is from the Yellowhill Community of the Qualla Boundary. A senior at Kennesaw State University majoring in Graphic Communication Design, Tyra developed an interest in art by watching her mom—her biggest influence—attend art school when Tyra was a child. Tyra’s main art form is digital illustration with a focus on Cherokee and Southeastern culture. Working at the Museum of the Cherokee People helped her learn more about Cherokee culture and history. She was a co-creator and designer for ᏗᎵᎬᏚᎶ Many Faces: A Cherokee Mask Exhibit and the designer for A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art and Disruption.

Finance

Eden Brown

(Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

Director of Finance

 

Eden Brown is a seasoned finance professional with a passion for serving her community. A graduate of Western Carolina University, she holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee and sits on the EBCI Pageant Board. Brown enjoys using her accounting and finance skills to support her tribal museum while learning more about Cherokee culture and history.

Education