The 19th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration at the N.C. Museum of History scheduled Saturday, Nov. 22 in Raleigh was named a “Top 20 Event” in 2014 by the Southeast Tourism Society. This free family-friendly festival includes craft demonstrations, Cherokee War dance and the Eagle Tail dance and Lumbee storytellers.
Members of all eight state-recognized tribes come from across North Carolina to participate in this celebration. Musicians, dancers, craftspeople, storytellers and others provide many opportunities to learn about the state’s Indian culture, past and present.
When you arrive, see a dugout canoe being burned into shape on the museum’s front porch. Then choose from countless engaging presentations and hands-on activities throughout the museum and outdoors on Bicentennial Plaza.
During the opening ceremony, watch a traditional welcome dance and enjoy music by Sacred Cedar productions, a Haliwa-Saponi group featuring N.C. Heritage Award recipient Arnold Richardson. Intertribal drum groups and Miss Indian North Carolina Karyl Frankiewicz also will provide music.
A celebration highlight ─ the Call to Grand Entry ─ occurs at noon. Each tribe, dressed in brilliantly colored regalia, will process onto Bicentennial Plaza for the roll call of tribes and organizations. With beadwork glistening and ribbons flowing, the tribe members will create a sight to behold. Later in the program, these children and adults will demonstrate traditional dances.
With so much to see and do, stay the day and grab lunch from vendors. Try some traditional American Indian foods with a modern twist, such as Indian tacos or Sappony salsa.
A sampling of the day’s activities follows:
● Meet craftspeople who make weapons, jewelry, pottery, beadwork, baskets, stone pipes, fishing and hunting tools, and more. Among them are well-known potter Senora Lynch (Haliwa-Saponi), a N.C. Heritage Award recipient; wampum and jewelry maker Julian Hunter (Meherrin); and weapon maker John Blackfeather Jeffries (Occaneechi-Saponi).
● Join hands-on activities galore. Weave a ribbonwork bookmark, go on a scavenger hunt, or play a game of traditional chunkey or corncob darts.
● 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.
● Let Lumbee storytellers Gwen and Barbara Locklear enthrall you with captivating tales. Lloyd and Dawn Arneach will share stories from the Eastern Band of Cherokee.
● Learn about American Indian instruments, specifically flute and drum, during a presentation by Arnold Richardson.
● Hear a panel discussion moderated by Kay Oxendine, producer of Women’s Sacred Radio and former editor of 360 View newspaper. Participants will focus on American Indians and the media, and they will share their work experiences.
● Examine a longhouse model and a display of traditional housing to see how American Indians once lived.
● Hear about the Cherokee language and learn a few words with Freeman Owle.
The event is supported by the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs, Raleigh Arts Commission, PNC, N.C. Museum of History Associates, Food Lion, and United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.
For information about the festival or the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, call (919) 807-7900 or visit ncmuseumofhistory.org.