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History museum plans 21st annual American Indian Heritage Celebration

Posted November 16

Dancers, drum groups, and storytellers from North Carolina's eight state-recognized tribes performed as part of the Museum of History's 17th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration in Raleigh on Saturday, Nov. 17 (photo by Will Okun).

The N.C. Museum of History will celebrate the culture and history of North Carolina's eight state-recognized tribes during the 21st annual American Indian Heritage Celebration.

The free event is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at the downtown Raleigh museum. The popular festival was named a Top 20 Event in 2016 by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The day includes drum groups, hundreds of dancers in regalia, craftspeople, storytellers and other presenters, who fill the museum and Bicentennial Plaza, in front of the building. There will be hands-on activities for children, including a game with corncob darts and a scavenger hunt.

The opening ceremony is at 11 a.m. Sacred Cedar Productions will present traditional Haliwa-Saponi music and dance, followed by a performance by intertribal drum groups. At noon, the Grand Entry features each tribe, dressed in brilliantly colored regalia, walking onto the plaza for the roll call of tribes and organizations.

It's really spectacular.

Here are other planned activities:

  • Watch craftspeople make pottery, beadwork, stone carvings, gourd rattles, hunting tools, jewelry and more. These individuals include Jamie Locklear (Waccamaw Siouan), who is known for his pine-needle baskets.
  • Learn about weapon making from John Blackfeather Jeffries (Occaneechi-Saponi).
  • Dive into hands-on activities such as imprinting a design onto pottery, writing words in Cherokee, shooting a bow and arrow, and sewing stitches with the Coharie Quilters.
  • Hear Lumbee storytellers Gwen and Barbara Locklear and Cherokee storytellers Lloyd and Dawn Arneach share traditional and contemporary tales. Lloyd Arneach is a recipient of the Mountain Heritage Award from Western Carolina University.
  • Listen to elders share stories about their experiences during segregation. Others will talk about moving to Greensboro in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to seek employment and eventually form the Greensboro Native American Association.
  • Learn about traditional Southeastern clothing and lifestyle from Meherrin tribe members Patrick Suarez and O’Tika Jones.
  • Watch Ila Hatter present a cooking demonstration on wild foods in western North Carolina, and hear Chef Lorrie Dial (Lumbee) highlight cuisine and lifeways of eastern North Carolina.
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