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November is Native American Heritage Month, and the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, in collaboration with the Cumberland County Schools Office of Indian Education, is hosting its 2nd annual Still Here, Still Native Exhibition.

According to the Arts Council, “This exhibition offers a remarkable glimpse into the rich and diverse art and cultural practices of indigenous tribes hailing from different regions across the vast expanse of North America. Through a captivating blend of original artwork and traditional crafts, this showcase provides an immersive experience that celebrates the unique heritage and traditions of these tribes with great respect and authenticity.”

The exhibition started on Nov. 2 and runs until Dec. 2 with an interactive craft event which includes a local Indigenous Storyteller.

This year’s exhibition includes two interactive art events, Corn Husk Doll Make and Take on Nov. 19, and the Pinecone Patchwork Make and Take on Dec. 2 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Arts Council of Fayetteville, located at 301 Hay St, downtown Fayetteville. This event is free and open to the public; no registration is required. Participants will be learning the history of the Pinecone Quilt.

“This is the second year we’ve brought Still Here, Still Native to the community, and it was really important to everyone involved (myself, the CCS Office of Indian Education, and the Arts Council) to expand on the initial blueprint,” said Savanna Davis, exhibit curator. “We extended the show itself to give folks a chance to come out, and along with that, one of our primary goals was to coordinate relevant programming to run alongside the exhibition… On Dec. 2, we’ll host a second craft session focused on the Lumbee Pinecone Patchwork Quilt. This event will coincide with a storytelling session by the wonderful Ms. Tammie Jump, a local storyteller who will be sharing traditional stories and material culture from the Lumbee Tribe. The pinecone pattern, which was created by Maggie Lowery Locklear in the early 1900s, holds special historical significance as a unique, beautiful, and highly technical contribution to textile artistry.”

The Pinecone Patchwork make-and-take will be led by the Office of Indian Education staff members. According to the organization’s website, “The mission of the Title VI Office of Indian Education (OIE) is to support the efforts of targeted schools to meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) so that these students can achieve to the same challenging state standards as all students.”

The organization’s involvement in this event has been imperative to its authenticity, educational value and success. Participants will be guided through the process of making one patchwork square. Anyone who finishes a complete quilt is encouraged to contact the Arts Council of Fayetteville or tag them in pictures on social media. They would love to share with the community.

Davis has enjoyed putting this exhibition together and all the events tied to it.

“Many of the events are ideal for families with littles, but folks of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend! We will also be hosting the final leg of Sandra Whittemore's Indigenous Dress Tour beginning Monday, Nov. 20, so if visitors would like to come in and get some inspiration for their quilt squares, there’s no better time!”

Attendees are encouraged to check out the art exhibit while they are onsite for the craft event. Davis and other staff had taken great care in expanding the exhibit far beyond the walls of the Arts Council building.

“Amidst this cultural exhibition of fine art and regalia, there will also be a resource wall, with QR codes linking to all types of Native-made content — such as books, movies, TV shows, and a podcast — to support other Native artists beyond just the exhibit… Most pieces on display will be for sale, and many prints may be ordered unframed at a reduced price. The exhibition will then remain open to the public during normal gallery hours through Jan. 6, 2024.”

President Biden made Native American Heritage Month official on Oct. 31, 2023, and urged all Americans “to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities”— and the Arts Council has several plans to do just that.

The Arts Council of Fayetteville and the Office of Indian Education are seeking to make that possible for all of Cumberland County residents, young and old.

For more information on the Office of Indian Education, visit the website https://www.ccs.k12.nc.us/domain/1611. For more information about upcoming events and exhibits at the Arts Council of Fayetteville, visit their website https://www.theartscouncil.com/.

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