Fifteenth Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration
Scores of American Indian dancers will fill the plaza outside the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh on Saturday, Nov. 20, at noon. The brilliant colors of their traditional regalia will transform the space as they move to the rhythm of drum groups nearby. With beadwork glistening in the sunlight and ribbons flowing, their dance steps will represent centuries of American Indian heritage and culture.
This lively scene is part of the Fifteenth Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration at the Museum of History. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the museum’s largest annual event showcases musicians, artists, storytellers, dancers and others from North Carolina’s eight state-recognized tribes.* The day’s activities include performances, craft demonstrations and workshops, hands-on activities, food and much more. Admission and parking are free.
The Nov. 20 festival offers a firsthand opportunity to learn about the contributions of the state’s American Indians, past and present. With something for all ages, it is the perfect way to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month. In fact, did you know that North Carolina has the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi River?
A sampling of the event’s activities follows.
● Watch a dugout canoe being burned into shape.
● See a wigwam frame built especially for the event, and learn about early types of American Indian housing.
● Talk with artisans at work, such as nationally known potter Senora Lynch, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe whose work has been featured at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian. Meet award-winning artist Karen Lynch Harley, also a Haliwa-Saponi, who draws and paints on animal skins and paper.
● Artists from other tribes will carve wood and stone, make silver and bead jewelry, create feather art, and more.
● Sign up for flute and instrument workshops by Native American flute recording artists Jonathan C. Ward and Arnold Richardson. Hear the intertribal a capella choir Unheard Voices and the mesmerizing beats of the Southern Sun and Stoney Creek drum groups.
● At 2 p.m. the Warriors of Anikituhwah of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will bring to life the Cherokee War dance and the Eagle Tail dance. Their informative demonstration includes social dances, such as the Bear dance and Beaver Hunting dance.
● Hands-on crafts, traditional games and other activities provide experiences galore. Play a game of corncob darts or shoot a blowgun. Make a dream catcher with members of the Sappony tribe, quilt with the Coharie Quilters, or make a cornhusk doll.
● Hear nationally recognized storyteller Lloyd Arneach of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians share tales of long ago, or join a presentation by Dr. Malinda Lowery, a Lumbee tribe member and an assistant professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Stay for lunch and warm up with traditional American Indian foods. Vendors will sell fry bread, sweet potato fries, beef stew, buffalo burgers, fried pies and more. Be sure to check out specific performance times on the day’s schedule. For a complete schedule with performances and presentation times and more information, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org or call 919-807-7900.
The American Indian Heritage Celebration is supported by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Food Lion; Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel; IBM; Lumbee tribe; N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs; N.C. Museum of History Associates; 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. Additional funding is provided by the Haliwa-Saponi tribe; Thomas, Judy & Tucker, P.A.; UNC American Indian Center; Native American Resource Center at UNC-Pembroke; Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Gaming Commission; Arrowhead Graphics; and Lumbee Guaranty Bank.