UNC Pembroke celebrates American Indian Heritage Month


UNC Pembroke is celebrating American Indian Heritage Month throughout November. The month-long celebration is a time to observe the university’s unique status as North Carolina’s historically American Indian university, and to share American Indian culture and history with the university community.

A highlight of the month includes American Indian actor Martin Sensmeier hosting a Zoom discussion on November 11 at 9 p.m. to discuss his role in the upcoming animated World War II Netflix series, The Liberator.

Sensmeier plays Sgt. Samuel Coldfoot in The Liberator. The series tells the story of a World War II unit, composed of American Indians, Mexican Americans and Dust Bowl cowboys who could not drink together in the same bars back home, after they landed in Sicily on July 10, 1943 and endured a brutal 500-day trek through Nazi-occupied Europe. Sensmeier, who is of Tlingit, Koyukon-Athabaskan and Irish descent, was raised in a Tlingit Coastal Community in Southeast Alaska and grew up learning and participating in the traditions of his people. Sensmeier is best known for his work in The Magnificent Seven (2016), Wind River (2017) and HBO’s Westworld (2016-18).

The discussion and watch party are available to all students and members of the campus community. Participants are asked to make reservations in advance via uncp.edu/CEL.

Abdul Ghaffar, director of Campus Engagement and Leadership, is excited to have Sensmeier return (virtually) to UNCP.

Ghaffar said, “When Martin last visited, it was a week after Hurricane Florence hit our area and he provided a needed boost to the campus and community. We enjoyed his time here tremendously. After playing basketball with students and touring UNCP, he spent time at the Lumbee Tribe headquarters and met tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin, his staff and several youth. I think he is a great addition to our American Indian Heritage Month and Veterans Day programs.”

Director of Student Inclusion and Diversity Dr. Lawrence Locklear shared, “UNC Pembroke was founded in 1887 to train Lumbee teachers. Today, the UNC Pembroke community reflects diverse ethnicities, background, perspectives and experiences. Celebrating American Indian Heritage Month furthers the institution’s historical mission of service to the Lumbee and other American Indians of the southeastern United States while raising awareness and showcasing the rich history and culture of Native peoples.”

A complete list of events for American Indian Heritage Month at UNCP:

  • November 2-19, 2020: Facts about the history and culture of American Indians are posted on stakes between the Chavis University Center and the English E. Jones Center.
  • November 2-6, 2020: View videos and recipes for preparing traditional American Indian foods (https://www.uncp.edu/departments/american-indian-studies/honoring-native-foodways)
  • November 2-6, 2020: American Indian Exhibit, University Center Mall Exhibit Area
  • November 3, 2020: Udall Scholarship Interest Meeting, 2 p.m., Virtual (https://uncp.webex.com/meet/ashley.oxendine).
  • November 4, 2020: Rock Your Mocs—Wear your favorite moccasins!
  • November 4, 2020: Udall Scholarship Interest Meeting, 12 p.m., Virtual (https://uncp.webex.com/meet/ashley.oxendine).
  • November 5, 2020: Udall Scholarship Interest Meeting, 10 a.m., Virtual (https://uncp.webex.com/meet/ashley.oxendine).
  • November 6, 2020: Traditional and contemporary American Indian music will be played in the mall of the Chavis University Center from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • November 11, 2020: Grab & Go Exam Survival Kits will be dispersed to students beginning at 2 p.m. in front of Old Main.
  • November 11, 2020: American Indian Actor Martin Sensmeier will discuss his latest role in the animated World War II series The Liberator at 9 p.m. on Zoom. For the link, visit uncp.edu/cel. Held in honor of Veterans Day and American Indian Heritage Month, the event is co-sponsored by Campus Engagement and Leadership, Pembroke Activities Council, American Indian Studies, Hok Nosai (American Indian Greek Council) and Student Inclusion and Diversity.
  • November 12, 2020: Dr. Jeff Frederick presents U.S. Congressman Charlie Rose and Lumbee Federal Recognition: Using Archives for Historical Research from 10-11:30 a.m. via Zoom. The presentation is sponsored by the Mary Livermore Library.
  • November 20-21, 2020: Virtual American Indian Heritage Month Celebration sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History (https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/aihc-2020)

Videos Available All Month at uncp.edu/OSID

  • Kay Oxendine (Haliwa-Saponi) discusses the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Movement
  • Importance of Voting with Crystal Cavalier
  • Virtual American Indian Read-in: view and listen to a reading of the following American Indian children’s books:
    • Chicora and the Little People: The Legend of the Indian Corn (2011) by Arvis Boughman and DeLora Cummings
    • Whoz Ya People? (2020) by Brittany D. Hunt and Bea Brayboy
    • It’s Lumbee Homecoming Y’all! Nakoma’s Greatest Tradition (2020) by Raven Dial-Stanley, Dr. Leslie A. Locklear and Christina Pacheco

American Indian Heritage Month activities are sponsored by the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity, the American Indian Heritage Month Committee and the Southeast American Indian Studies Program.

For more information about American Indian Heritage Month and other diversity awareness programming at UNCP, please contact the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity at 910.521.6508 or osid@uncp.edu.