Native American Heritage

In Celebration of Native American Heritage Month 2021

Event Evaluation

UNC Greensboro is located on land that has long served as the site of meeting and exchange amongst a number of Indigenous peoples, specifically the Keyauwee and Saura.

Additionally, North Carolina has been home to many Indigenous peoples at various points in time, including the tribes/nations of:  Bear River/Bay River, Cape Fear, Catawba, Chowanoke, Coree/Coranine, Creek, Croatan, Eno, Hatteras, Keyauwee, Machapunga, Moratoc, Natchez, Neusiok, Pamlico, Shakori, Sara/Cheraw, Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Wateree, Weapemeoc, Woccon, Yadkin, and Yeopim.

Today, NC recognizes 8 tribes:  Coharie, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Saponi, Haliwa Saponi, Waccamaw Siouan, Sappony, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

Acknowledgement by itself is a small gesture.  It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationships and informed by action.  As a first step, acknowledgements can be an opening to greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward equitable relationships and reconciliation.

Naming is an exercise in power.  Who gets the right to name or be named? Whose stories are honored in a name?  Acknowledgement of traditional land honors historic relationship with the land.

2021 Calendar of Events

Thursday, November 4

Cherokee Storytelling and Stone Carving Workshop

Greensboro Central Library


Award-winning storyteller and author, Freeman Owle, will engage adults and children with a mix of history, culture, and ancient Cherokee stories passed down from generation to generation. Participants will also take part in a stone carving workshop. Storytelling and stone carving have long been used to preserve and teach traditional Cherokee history and culture. Freeman Owle, a professional storyteller, artist, and educator, has shared Cherokee history and culture throughout the Southeast for more than twenty years and is an Elder in the Cherokee Nation.

Hosted by Greensboro Public Library

Friday, November 5

Kaya Littleturtle: Teaching our Southeastern Native Culture through Dance, Song, and Storytelling

Kirkland, Elliott University Center

5:30-7:00 pm

UNCG Students, Staff and Faculty with Spartan Card

Photo courtesy of Kaya Littleturtle

The Littleturtle Family, led by Kaya Littleturtle, will demonstrate various aspects of southeastern Native culture through dance, song, and storytelling.  Audience members will learn about smoke dancing, war dancing, and longhouse social dancing.  There will be time for audience participation and the opportunity to ask questions.

Photo courtesy of Kaya Littleturtle

Kaya Littleturtle, Lumbee Tuscarora

Kaya Littleturtle has been active in the Lumbee Tribe his entire life, and his family has been right there with him. His grandfather, Ray Littleturtle, was a wisdom keeper and his grandmother is a talented native storyteller. It was in that family-centered environment that Kaya became inspired to carry on Lumbee traditions in order to build and preserve community. “We have a saying around here: ‘Who’s your people?’” explains Littleturtle. “Lumbees take care of Lumbees.”

Photo courtesy of Kaya Littleturtle

Littleturtle has been learning about storytelling and native music traditions since he was a child. As a self-described “jack of all trades growing up,” his family was constantly on the road performing at powwows. These experiences demonstrated for Littleturtle the kind of person he wanted to grow up to be. “I have not seen many other tribes push education the way that we do,” he says, explaining how his Lumbee heritage has instilled in him pride and a constant drive to learn. With his background and considerable skill, he is known in the tribe as a drum circle leader. Even so, he says, he strives every day to become a better role model and teacher in his tribe and community.

In many ways, Littleturtle is already a leader—he has evolved into a positive example for native youth in the region.  Kaya’s voice is a strong tool as well. While his speaking voice is quiet and deliberate, when he sings native songs, he is clarion.  Littleturtle still travels widely on the powwow circuit throughout the country.

Saturday, November 6

Native American Hip Hop Beats

Hemphill Branch Library and online

2301 West Vandalia Road

2-3:00 pm

Learn about Native American Hip Hop and the artists behind it with video
and musical excerpts. We will also discuss the groundbreaking book,
Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous
North America by Kyle Mays. We will also learn more about Native American music history. Please call 336-412-6199 or email to register.

Hosted by the Greensboro Public Library

Saturday, November 13

We are Still Here: 21st Century Native American Perspectives

Glenn McNairy Branch Library

4860 Lake Jeanette Road

3-4:30 pm

Nora Dial-Stanley will be screening her film, Leaving Home, Building Community: Triad Native American History, Presence, and Continuance. An enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Nora has advocated for American Indians in NC for over 30 years. She has played an active role in the Guilford Native American Association as a member of the Board of Directors, Chairperson of the Cultural Committee, Co-chairperson of the Pow-Wow Committee.

Dial-Stanley is the adviser to the Native American Student Association at UNCG. She has volunteered with countless organizations and events across the state as an organizer, public speaker, storyteller, and consultant to educate others on the culture, traditions, and history of her people. Following the screening, there will be a discussion about her experiences as a filmmaker and educator.

Hosted by the Greensboro Public Library

Thursday, November 18

An Evening with Tommy Orange

The Terrace at the Greensboro Coliseum

1921 West Gate City Blvd.


Free Admission

Praised by media and fellow authors alike, There There was named one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of the Year, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Winner of the Pen/Hemingway Award. Tommy Orange was born and
raised in Oakland, California and is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.  He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, the son of a white mother and
Native father. Like many of the characters in his book, the author considers himself an “urban Indian.”

photo credit Elena Seibert

There There is a stunning debut novel that follows twelve characters from Native communities as they all travel to the Big Oakland Powwow. With a common history these voices share the plight of the urban Native American with unflinching focus.  There There serves to dispel the historical image of Native Americans as headdress wearing, reservation dwellers by including modern technologies and contemporary behavior. Readers will see that there are many ways to be authentic, displaying a dynamic range of ways to be that are still acceptable as “Native.”

Part of the Greensboro Public Library’s One City, One Book program.

November 1-30

Learn about Indigenous foods with Spartan Dining

The Native American Student Association will provide informational signs in the Moran Commons Cafeteria that educate on the indigenous origins of many common food items.

Additional resources

Native American Student Association at UNCG

National Congress of American Indians

PBS Specials

NC Commission of Indian Affairs

One City, One Book program

Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement