Events scheduled for Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, and a series of events have been scheduled by Western Carolina University’s Cherokee Center, Cherokee Studies Program, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs, Intercultural Affairs Department and Digali’I Native Student Organization in commemoration of the designation.

Sky Sampson

The recognition is intended to provide a platform for native peoples to share traditional culture, music, crafts, dance and concepts of life, as well as raise awareness of their history and challenges.

“This month is an important opportunity to share our cultural values and recognize our place within regional history and the Western North Carolina community that we belong to,” said Sky Sampson, director of the center and an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Events began Monday, Nov. 4, with a “Rock Your Moccasins” awareness walk on campus, with participants displaying solidarity with the Native American social movement.

Upcoming events are:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 12, “Torn Between Education and Expectation” panel discussion at 4:30 p.m. in the A.K. Hinds University Center Grandroom on native communities and misunderstandings about tradition and mainstream education. A DegreePlus event for students.
  • Monday, Nov. 18, a Native American Heritage Festival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Uiversity Center lawn (rain location, Blue Ridge Conference Center). The festival will feature traditional foods, crafts, dances, vendors and music.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 20, “Wind River” movie screening at 4 p.m. in the University Center theater, followed by discussion.

The Cherokee Center, located at 1594 Acquoni Road, Cherokee, is the headquarters for all communication between WCU and the Eastern Band. Established in 1975 as an office for university outreach and partnership development, the center provides a broad range of assistance, including college applications, campus tours, educational workshops, alumni engagement and cultural awareness both on campus and off.

For more information, contact Sampson at snsampson@wcu.edu or 828-497-7920.