Many Americans this month eschewed a celebration of Columbus Day and the violent usurpation of Native Americans’ land and culture. Instead, many opted to commemorate Indigenous Peoples Day, a federal holiday to acknowledge Native American history and heritage.
Supporters of America’s First Peoples will extend the affirmation of this country’s original culture later this month with a pow wow celebration that will focus on the contributions of North Carolina’s eight recognized Native American tribes.
A day of competitive dancing, music, indigenous vendors and food showcasing the legacy and culture of Indigenous communities in the state will take place at the Dix Park’s Big Field on October 30, according to a press release from Dix Park Conservancy.
“This is an exciting opportunity working alongside other Indigenous organizers to host such an immersive cultural event that also helps alleviate the invisibility of Indigenous communities,” Trey Roberts, Community Engagement Manager for the Dix Park Conservancy and a Haliwa-Saponi tribal citizen said in the release. “This pow wow will celebrate our culture and restore the use of the land in pre-colonial Raleigh as a gathering space for Native communities that had lived around the park.”
The “Dix Park Inter-Tribal Pow Wow” will spotlight the drum groups, Stoney Creek and Southern Eagle, along with performances by former American Idol contestants, Charly Lowry and Alexis Raeana.
The organizers are also hoping the event will attract tribal citizens who are members of the state’s Native American tribes. In addition to the Haliwa-Saponi, the state’s tribes are the Coharie, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Lumbee, the Meherrin, the Sappony, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and the Waccamaw Siouan
“I’m excited to share our culture with the people of the Triangle area. I am thankful for the support and resources of the City of Raleigh and the Dix Conservancy, and I look forward to a successful inaugural event,” Sandon Jacobs, a member of the Pow Wow Planning Committee and Waccamaw-Siouan tribal member, said in the release.
A handful of agencies have partnered together to sponsor the event with indigenous organizers. The sponsoring organizations include the Triangle Native American Society, the N.C. Museum of History, City of Raleigh Museum, Dix Park Conservancy, the City of Raleigh and the Consulate General of Mexico in Raleigh, according to the release.
Dating back to 1992, cities across the United States rejected Columbus day as the advent of colonization in the Western Hemisphere and instead embraced Native American Day. Earlier this month Joe Biden became the first American president to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples Day when he signed a proclamation declaring October 11 a national holiday.
Organizers at Dix Park were slightly ahead of the curve last year when the location was the scene of a Native American land blessing and land acknowledgement ceremony in partnership with the Triangle Native American Society, according to the release.
Organizers say the ceremony marked the first time that the City of Raleigh participated in a land acknowledgement.
“Through programming and events, Dix Park continues to pay respect and reflect the history of the land and how the past can influence positive change today,” according to the release.
Tribal citizens are invited to participate in competitive dancing for various categories including jingle, traditional, grass, and fancy. Pre-registration for dance competition is available here.
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