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Native American Heritage Month still on schedule to be celebrated at WCU

November is Native American Heritage Month and events adhering to pandemic protocols have been scheduled for Western Carolina University.

Many of the events will be held virtually, with the recognition 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. The monthlong activities are sponsored by the Cherokee Center, Cherokee Studies Program, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs, Intercultural Affairs Department and Digali'i i Native American Student Organization.

“This month is an important opportunity to share our cultural values and recognize our place within regional history and the campus community,” said Sky Sampson, director of the Cherokee Center, the university’s office for tribal outreach and partnership development, with a broad range of services, including college applications and alumni engagement. “This year, many of the events that traditionally involve gatherings of people will still occur, only in social media and online platforms, or in safe, limited capacity settings.”

Throughout November, WCU will host “The Art of Native Photography Exhibit” in the Intercultural Affairs gallery in the A.K. Hinds University Center. Other scheduled activities include:

Nov. 9: Tribal Identity in Public Settings panel discussion at 5:30 p.m. This event will be a virtual panel on Facebook Live. A panel of professionals will discuss tribal identity being displayed in public settings and how this may affect native people in educating the non-native people about accurate traditions and culture. The panelists include Tribal Councilman Bo Crowe, director of education at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Dakota Brown, director of the culturally-based Native Health Program, Lisa Lefler, EBCI lead archeologist, Beau Carroll and WCU graduate and vice president of the Native American Student Organization, Driver Blythe. 

Nov. 17: Native American Heritage Festival. This will be a social media event.

Nov. 20: Crooked Arrows Film Night. The Cherokee Center will be sponsoring a drive-in movie package for the Crooked Arrows movie showing at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. This package will include a free movie ticket, one popcorn, and one drink. Call the Cherokee Center at 828-497-7920 to claim a movie package today. Tickets are available until Nov 19, and must be presented on movie night at check in. This deal is only available at the Cherokee Center.

WCU’s Cherokee Center is located at 1594 Acquoni Road, Cherokee, and is the headquarters for communication between WCU and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. For more information, contact Sampson at or 828-497-7920.

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