Nelson Hall Exhibit Conveys Native American Heritage Month Message: “Our Fire Still Burns”
Nelson Hall’s third-floor display case (near the auditorium) this month features a banner that reflects the diversity among the Native Americans who had lived during pre-colonial days in what is now North Carolina.
Its design was created by artist and NC State alumna Chelsea Locklear, who describes herself as a business analyst by day and an artist and entrepreneur, wife, mother and daughter the rest of the time. She and her husband Dakota Lowery, a U.S. Army veteran and NC State graduate student, are members of the Lumbee Tribe and founders of Scuffletown Suppliers, based in Pembroke, N.C., through which she sells her artwork: candles, t-shirts and other items with Native American themes. They both were active members of the Native American Student Association and are currently active in the Native American Alumni Society.
Locklear and Lowery attended an unveiling of the display on November 9, along with Tayah Butler, director of diversity and inclusion at Poole College; interim dean Frank Buckless and several other faculty and staff members; and students involved in the Diversity and Inclusion program. Other guests were Noor Bokhari and Jeyashree Haridoss.
The display is based on a t-shirt design requested by April Hammonds, on the staff of NC State’s Multicultural Student Affairs Office. “I began working with Chelsea for Indigenous Peoples Day t-shirts that centered around our theme for the year, ‘Our Fire Still Burns’,” Hammonds said.
In creating the design – which lists the names of more than 30 Native American tribes that had lived in the region in pre-colonial days – Locklear said she sought to convey that while the indigenous people, “through colonization had to group (consolidate) and regroup, the DNA of those people still exists” in those who are members of the eight state-recognized tribes in North Carolina, as well as in the names and history of lakes, rivers and landmarks, including the Eno, Neuse, and Waxhaw rivers, the Cherokee Nation, and history of areas like Scuffletown and the Lowrie War that occured in this region.
This was the first unveiling of an exhibit in the display case that presents information and individual stories related to diversity recognition months throughout the year. The exhibits are typically created by students working with Tayah Butler, director of diversity and inclusion at the NC State Poole College of Management, and most recently have included information panels about black owned businesses and reflections by Latinx students.
Belton Moore, a Poole College senior majoring in economics and political science and member of the Lumbee Tribe, is one of the students working with Butler.
“When I met Ms. Tayah Butler a few days after moving to NC State to start my freshman year, I could tell that she was going to make a mark on my time in Poole College,” Moore said in an email interview with Poole College communications. “She goes out of her way to not only support students, but also advocate for institutional change. Ms. Tayah is a change maker and I consider her my number one supporter in the college. The unveiling of the Native American History Month display in Nelson Hall is just one example of her innovative approach to diversity and inclusion work.”
November: Native American Heritage Month
Native American Heritage Month is dedicated to recognizing and honoring indigenous cultures across the country. During this month at NC State, the university’s Multicultural Student Affairs team is hosting events for Native American students to celebrate their unique and vibrant traditions and tribes and for the larger campus community to come together to learn more about Native tribes and communities. Among the signature events are the Indigenous Speakers Series, Native American Culture Night, and the Dreamcatcher Workshop.
Google marked the start of Native American History Month with a special Doodle displayed on November 9, celebrating Amanda Crowe—an Eastern Band Cherokee Indian woodcarver and educator who was a prolific artist renowned for her expressive animal figures. This Newsweek article provides details about this artist and her work.
About the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs
The NC State Department of Multicultural Student Affairs researches, designs and implements unique programs that promote the pursuit of academic success, retention, and graduation of students. Many of the programs and services expand students’ cultural horizons while honoring their respective cultural experiences. Its staff works in conjunction with a number of university departments and colleges to conduct programs related to recruitment, orientation, retention, and graduation in addition to academic, personal, professional and cultural development, which foster skills and strategies for being successful at N.C. State. Programs and services include a Symposium for Multicultural Scholars, Peer Mentor Program, the celebration of heritage and history months, Freshman Honors Convocation, annual POW WOW, student leadership development and student organization advising.