Dr. Charlotte Hunter
Cultural Resources Program Manager
California State Office
Her name is Charlotte Anne Tsali Hunter. She is Cherokee and Scottish. "Tsali" is pronounced "Charli" in Cherokee, but she says she is a generic American, having lived in nearly every part of the country, including Hawaii.
She has been digging in the ground since she was a year old and could hold a spoon. "I should have known I was an archaeologist from birth, but it took me a while to figure it out," she says.
As a young adult, she was a graphic artist in the space industry in her native Florida. She left there to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu. Fresh with a bachelor's degree in administration from Pepperdine, she spent the next two years working with a Hollywood studio filming in Tahiti. But she continued to search for the career that combined her love of cultures, art, photography, the outdoors and research.
She enrolled at the University of Sydney, Australia, to study anthropology, earning the equivalent of a bachelor's degree. She returned to the states to get her master's degree at the University of Memphis. There, she did field work most weekends, including the excavation of a Woodland mound site. She completed her thesis on the oldest home in Memphis.
She was fortunate to be awarded a Dorothy Danforth Compton fellowship for minority students, which allowed her to continue her studies. She was accepted to Brown University, but was told the school did not accept master's degrees from other schools. She completed another master's at Brown before entering the PhD program.
After completing her PhD coursework, she worked as a field archaeologist for the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, the Haleakala National Park on Maui and was the cultural resources manager for the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor while she compiled data for her doctorate dissertation. She worked at Joshua Tree National Park as an archaeologist and museum curator and as a cultural resources manager at Buffalo National River in the Arkansas Ozarks while she wrote her dissertation. At each of the positions she was also the native Hawaiian or tribal liaison.
Later she worked as the forest archaeologist at at Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona, continuing her work towards improving cultural resource management and becoming more heavily involved in tribal relations.