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About 1,500 people packed Woollen Gym on Saturday for Carolina’s 27th Annual Powwow. The celebration is the signature event sponsored by the Carolina Indian Circle and draws representatives from Native communities across North Carolina.

“The Powwow allows me to stay connected with my heritage and provides a presence on campus for the Native community,” said Carolina Indian Circle member Meshay Long, a sophomore from Cherokee.

Dancers in traditional regalia kicked off the afternoon with a spectacular Grand Entry, and Chancellor Carol L. Folt welcomed attendees and talked about the importance of coming together.

The ceremony included an Honor Song to remember Native American student Faith Hedgepeth, who was killed in 2012. Members of Hedgepeth’s family attended, and Alpha Pi Omega sorority members presented them with her sorority line shirt. Later that afternoon, competitors participated in lively dance and drum contests.

Saturday marked Folt’s first powwow at Carolina, but she has attended many powwows at Dartmouth.

“Events like this one are vital,” said Folt. “They not only convene Native Americans, but provide a gateway for other members of the campus community to learn about important traditions and come away with a deeper understanding of our rich past.”

By Tanya Moore, UNC News Services

Photo courtesy of Tabitha Jacobs

Published March 31, 2014