What better way to recognize American Indian Heritage Month than to meet members of North Carolina’s eight state-recognized tribes?* Your opportunity awaits at the 18th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration on Saturday, November 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Brimming with activities and presentations, this not-to-be-missed free event will overflow onto Bicentennial Plaza. Learn about North Carolina’s American Indian population — the largest of any state east of the Mississippi River.
More than an event . . . the American Indian Heritage Celebration is to be experienced. Hear and feel the drumbeats, watch dancers in glorious regalia, and take in the sights and sounds of this exciting festival. Bring the family and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Opening musical performances by intertribal drum groups, Miss North Carolina Johna Edmons (Lumbee) and Arnold Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi) will draw your attention. During the Grand Entry at noon, Miss Indian North Carolina Olivia Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi) will lead the dance demonstrations that follow the roll call of tribes. Afterward, watch the world-renowned Warriors of AniKituhwa of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who bring to life the Cherokee War dance and the Eagle Tail dance.
Step inside the museum to marvel at the work of craftspeople who create weapons, jewelry, pottery, beadwork, baskets, and hunting and fishing tools. Hands-on activities will range from shooting a blowgun to making seed jewelry. Historians and scholars will present talks that bring the past to the present.
A sampling of other activities follows.
- N.C. Heritage Award recipient Arnold Richardson (Haliwa-Saponi) will play the flute and drums on the main stage. He will also give a talk about the instruments. The musician and artist is credited with revitalizing the cultural heritage of eastern North Carolina’s American Indians.
- Producers of the new documentary “Voices of the Lumbee” will show clips and discuss the film.
- Archaeologists from East Carolina University and UNC-Chapel Hill will discuss recent findings in the state related to American Indian culture.
- Watch a dugout canoe being burned into shape, or follow the steps of a hide-tanning demonstration.
- Join a cooking demonstration and hear about the upcoming cookbook: A Time to Dance: Recipes and Regalia by Gloria Barton Gates (Lumbee).
- What is a jingle dress? Find out about it and the meaning of modern dance regalia during a talk presented by Sharon Berrun (Haliwa-Saponi).
- Grab lunch from vendors on Bicentennial Plaza, and try some traditional American Indian foods with a modern twist. Purchase buffalo burgers, fry bread, sweet potato tarts or Indian tacos.
The November 23 festival will have hands-on activities for all ages. Mark your calendar now for this fascinating experience.
The American Indian Heritage Celebration is supported by the Raleigh Arts Commission, United Arts Council of Wake County, N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs, N.C. Museum of History Associates, and Food Lion.
*The eight state-recognized tribes are Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan. For more information about the tribes, go to http://www.doa.state.nc.us/CIA/