The annual American Indian Heritage Celebration is turning 16, and you’re invited to the party! Catch the excitement of the “sweet sixteenth” celebration on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. Admission and parking are FREE.
November is American Indian Heritage Month. First Gentleman Bob Eaves has chosen American Indian heritage as the fall focus of his Celebrate North Carolina initiative, and the museum is pulling out all the stops on Nov. 19 in support of this. Musicians, dancers, artists, storytellers and other presenters fromNorth Carolina’s eight state-recognized tribes will be on hand to help celebrate, educate and tell the story of American Indians in our state.
Learn about North Carolina’s American Indian population — the largest of any state east of the Mississippi River — and about North Carolina’s eight tribes: Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan.*
The American Indian Heritage Celebration will have something for all ages and will include performances, craft demonstrations and workshops, hands-on activities and more. All the fun takes place at theMuseumofHistoryand outside onBicentennialPlaza.
A sampling of the activities during the event follows. For a schedule of all performances and presentations, go to ncmuseumofhistory.org or call 919-807-7900.
● During the Grand Entry at noon, see dancers in colorful regalia proceed onto Bicentennial Plaza to the rhythm of the drum groups Southern Sun and Stoney Creek.
● At 2 p.m. the world-renowned Warriors of Anikituhwa 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.
● Catch the exhibit Cherokee Carvers: Tradition Renewed before it closes on Nov. 27, and sign up for a carving workshop with Freeman Owle, whose work is featured in the exhibit.
● Talk with artisans at work, such as nationally known potter Senora Lynch, a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, and beadworkers Pat Richardson and Carol Brewington of the Coharie tribe. Meet John Blackfeather Jeffries, a member of the Occaneechi-Saponi tribe, who will make and demonstrate weapons.
● Watch a dugout canoe being burned into shape. Then visit the brand-new exhibit The Story of North Carolina to see a 2,800-year-old canoe and other artifacts used long ago.
● Engage in hands-on crafts and traditional games. Play a game of corncob darts or shoot a blowgun. Make seed jewelry, a ribbonwork bookmark or a sassafras tea bag. Go on a scavenger hunt. Learn how to grind corn.
● Hear father and daughter storytellers, Lloyd and Dawn Arneach of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Gwen Locklear of the Lumbee tribe share tales of long ago.
● Stop by the auditorium to see excerpts from WUNC-TV’s new documentary “The Birth of a Colony,” and learn more about life during the state’s earliest days.
● Stay for lunch and try some traditional American Indian foods with a modern twist. Vendors will sell fry bread, sweet potato fries, beef stew, buffalo burgers, collard sandwiches, fried pies and more.
The American Indian Cultural Celebration is supported by the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs, the North Carolina Museum of History Associates, Food Lion, and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, with funds from the United Arts campaign as well as the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes a great nation deserves great art.
TheMuseumof Historyis located at 5 E. Edenton Street, across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot acrossWilmington Street.