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Throughout November,  students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to observe American Indian Heritage Month.

Over the next four weeks, the UNC American Indian Center will co-sponsor a series of events to celebrate American Indian culture and share it with others. The lessons are particularly relevant in North Carolina, home to the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi River that includes eight Tribal Nations and four urban Indian organizations.

The month-long celebration will include lectures, cultural activities and discussions, film viewings and special foods.

Dr. Robbie Ethridge will give this year’s Michael D. Green Lecture in American Indian Studies. Her address, titled “When Giants Walked the Earth: Chief Tascaluza and Southeastern Indian Leadership in the Ancient South,” will be Nov. 6.

Other events during the month include a Native Craft Night on Nov. 18, hosted by Carolina Indian Circle, and a theme meal, sponsored by Carolina Dining Services, that will celebrate American Indian foods Nov. 19 at Lenoir Dining Hall.

The month’s festivities conclude Nov. 22 with the 19th annual American Indian Heritage Celebration at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. The event is free and open to the public and includes participation by citizens of all eight Tribal Nations in North Carolina.

To kick off American Indian Heritage Month, the American Indian Center recently hosted the First Annual Forum on the Role of Higher Education in Native Nation Building, in partnership with The Friday Center. At this historic gathering, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L. Folt signed a resolution with all eight NC Tribal Nations.

The document resolves to continue and strengthen the University’s commitment to research, education and service with the eight Native Nations. It also emphasizes that the University will hold similar gatherings to reinforce and strengthen relationships with the Native Nations. The eight Tribal Nations in North Carolina are:

  • Coharie Tribe
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe
  • Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
  • Meherrin Indian Nation
  • Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation
  • Sappony
  • Waccamaw Siouan Tribe

For a complete list of American Indian Heritage Month events, visit the American Indian Center website [link: completed calendar].

The mission of the UNC American Indian Center is to bridge the richness of American Indian cultures with the strengths of Carolina’s research, education and service. National American Indian Heritage Month recognizes contemporary American Indian tribes and individuals as active participants in American society and honors their histories, cultures and achievements.

By Randi R. Byrd, UNC American Indian Center

Published November 3, 2014