Skip to content

Native American Indian Association of Tennessee needs your help to build a new cultural center

“NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Native American Indian Association of Tennessee is asking for help to build a new cultural center. About 12 years ago the organization bought 6 acres of land off of Bell Road in Antioch, but raising the money to actually build a new center has taken a long time.

They still need about a million dollars. The center is currently in a small home on Spence Lane.

NAIA Executive Director, Ray Emanuel, and NAIA Advisory Board Member and Marketing Committee Chairman, Chuck Creasy, said over the years they have been grateful for the small donations the organization gets. Every fall the annual Indian Education Tennessee Pow Wow raises a good amount of money too.

However, they said the pandemic has made things even more expensive than what was originally planned. The total estimated budget for the new Circle of Life Indian Cultural Center is 2.3 million dollars. It would include meeting spaces, administrative offices, a museum, and a library.

NAIA works to connect more than 20 thousand Native Americans in Tennessee to services like food, medical care, and rental assistance.

“The Native American Indian Association has been recognized by the federal government as the Indian agent for the state due to the fact that there’s not a reservation here,” said Emanuel. “But still it eliminates us from certain funding which targets reservations. And so that’s why it’s very important that we get this center built where Indian people have somewhere to go and seek those services.”

Creasy said it is unfortunate the NAIA has to work this hard to get funding to begin with.

“It’s a travesty with the fact of the Trail of Tears and the whole business that we had to go out and buy six acres of land in Tennessee to build a center when the Native peoples owned it all not that long ago,” said Creasy.

Donate directly to the center on the NAIA of Tennessee website and on a GoFundMe the group started.

Creasy and Emanual said NAIA has also applied to grants and hope some local corporations will step up to help too.”

Written by Brianna Hamblin with News Channel 5 at 7:28 AM, Mar 12, 2023

Circle of Life Indian Cultural Center
Back To Top