The Museum of the Cherokee Indian (MCI) extends its leadership with the appointment of two new directors. Evan Mathis has joined the Museum as Director of Collections and Exhibitions to manage the care, safety and security of MCI’s paper and object collections and to assist with planning, design and implementation. exhibitions. Michael Slee has been appointed COO for oversee the day-to-day operations of the Museum, including facilities, finances, frontline and external affairs.
Mathis comes to MCI from the Supply Department at Cherokee Indian Hospital, which he ran as director. Although not a registered member, Mathis is an artist of Cherokee origin who maintains close ties to the community. He began creating traditional Cherokee beads at the age of 15 and traveled across the United States to study historical Cherokee bead artifacts and material culture. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is currently enrolled in the Certificate Program in Museum Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Mathis resides in Whittier where he continues to bead and make moccasins by hand.
Slee comes to the Museum after a decade with EBCI Transit, where he most recently served as Deputy Director. He is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Law. A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Slee is a member of the Longhair Clan and a member of both the Raven Rock Stomp Grounds and the Walelu Indian Ball Team. He resides in the Birdtown community of Cherokee with his wife and three children.
âWe have cast a wide net for these positions as they are critical to achieving our vision,â said MCI Executive Director Shana Bushyhead Condill. âEvan brings a combination of leadership and collections experience to his role and is also a manufacturer that gives him expertise in the care of Cherokee collections in particular. Michael is a proven leader in operations and an active member of the community, which gives him the perspective the Museum needs as we continue to build. We are delighted to welcome them to the team and have them directly embark on our exciting projects for the future. “
Both directors share an interest in fostering a welcoming and community-centered environment at MCI, with trust and accessibility being core values. âI want this to be a safe space for tribe members to learn more about the items and records we care for,â says Mathis.
Slee agrees. âWe work for the Cherokee people, preserving our culture and sharing our stories. “
âThe Museum Board and I are delighted to welcome the new Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Director of Operations,â said MCI Board Chair Samantha Ferguson. âMichael and Evan come to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience sharing our goal of serving the Cherokee people. As our staff continues to grow, I continue to be amazed and grateful to a team that is not only committed to our mission, but to us as a Cherokee community.
Established in 1948, the Cherokee Indian Museum is one of the oldest working tribal museums. Known for its innovative storytelling, the museum features exhibits, artwork, and hands-on technology that brings 12,000 years of Cherokee history to life. Located in Cherokee, North Carolina, the museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Learn more by visiting www.mci.org.
- Cherokee Indian Liberation Museum