By pure coincidence, this year’s 17th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh falls on Saturday, Nov. 17. These matching numbers add up to one exciting festival for all ages. Dancers in traditional regalia, drum groups, storytellers, craftspeople and others from North Carolina’s eight state-recognized tribes will take part in this free event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.* Come learn about the contributions of the state’s American Indians, past and present. All the fun takes place at the Museum of History and outside on Bicentennial Plaza.
The American Indian Heritage Celebration will feature performances, artisans at work, hands-on activities, informative talks and more. The event lineup ranges from a performance by blues musician Lakota John of the Lumbee tribe to a weapon-making demonstration by John Blackfeather Jeffries of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation.
During the Grand Entry at noon, dancers in colorful regalia will be led by Miss Indian North Carolina Layla Rose Locklear, who is a Lumbee tribe member, and Mike Richardson, a Haliwa-Saponi tribe member. They will proceed onto Bicentennial Plaza to the beats of the drum groups Southern Sun and Stoney Creek.
Outdoors, see a dugout canoe being burned into shape or watch a hide-tanning demonstration. Step indoors for activities such as craft demonstrations by potters, stone carvers and basketmakers.
A sampling of other activities follows. For a schedule of all performances and presentations, visit the Museum of History’s website or call (919) 807-7900.
–Watch the world-renowned Warriors of AniKituhwa of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians bring to life the Cherokee War dance and the Eagle Tail dance. Their informative demonstration includes social dances, such as the Bear dance.
–Hear a panel of archaeologists from East Carolina University and UNC-Chapel Hill discuss recent findings in the state related to American Indian culture.
–Participate in hands-on crafts and traditional games. Play a game of corncob darts or shoot a blowgun. Make a ribbonwork bookmark or stitch along with the Coharie Quilters. Go on a scavenger hunt. Learn how to grind corn.
–Talk with artisans at work, such as beadworker Jessica Spaulding Dingle of the Waccamaw-Siouan tribe, and wampum and jewelry maker Julian Hunter of the Meherrin tribe.
–Pick up a recipe and hear stories from Gloria Barton Gates, author of The Scuffletown Cookbook: Lumbee Indian Recipes of Yesteryear.
–See and learn about traditional Southeastern woodland Indian clothing from Lumbee tribe member Jaime Oxendine. Sharon Berrun of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe will highlight modern dance regalia.
–Grab lunch from vendors on Bicentennial Plaza, and try some traditional American Indian foods with a modern twist. Purchase fry bread, sweet potato tarts, buffalo burgers, collard sandwiches, fried pies and more.
The Nov. 17 festival is a great way to celebrate national American Indian Heritage Month and meet members of all eight state-recognized tribes. Mark your calendar for this not-to-be-missed event.
The American Indian Heritage Celebration is supported by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Food Lion; N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs; N.C. Museum of History Associates; Raleigh Arts Commission; and United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, with funds from the United Arts campaign, the N.C. Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art.