On Nov. 13, UNC community members will have the opportunity to experience singing, dancing and the speaking of Native languages. The showcase, which will be in the Student Union's Great Hall, is hosted by the Carolina Indian Circle.
The student organization was founded in 1974 to create community and support for undergraduate Native American students on campus. Dalton Locklear, the current president of CIC, said the organization aims to provide a secure community for Native UNC students and give them somewhere to call home while on campus.
“[We are] ensuring that campus knows about Native American issues in regards to politics, making sure that everyone continues to progress academically, and [is] a source of support for each other — to be a community that we can go to when we are ripped away from our tribal communities to pursue Western education,” Locklear said.
Fifth-year doctoral candidate in American studies, Frankie Bauer, is a California native and member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He said he found a community in North Carolina through CIC. Bauer said CIC’s annual Culture Showcase event is a safe space for Indigenous students and for others to learn more about their identity.
“[It is] an introduction to people who have a very broad conception of what indigeneity, within specifically North Carolina, looks like,” Bauer said.
The CIC will curate the event in collaboration with the American Indian Center, a University-funded organization composed of Native leaders that hopes to “make Native issues a permanent part of the intellectual life of the University,” according to its website.
AJ Hunt, the current administrative support associate at the center and former CIC president, said being part of CIC was one of his favorite memories of their time at UNC.
The CIC was one of the main reasons he chose to come to UNC, Hunt said, adding that his mother was also in CIC when she attended the University.
“It is a space where you can be Native with other Native people at UNC,” he said.