LAURINBURG – November is Native American Heritage Month and the County Arts Council of Scotland shines a spotlight on local Native artists.
Board member Tonya Elk Locklear has several items on display, ranging from a ribbon skirt and shawl to her own poetry in the building.
“I grew up in Southeastern North Carolina, in Robeson County,” Elk Locklear said. “I have ties to the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina and the Oglala Sioux. I joined the Arts Council of Scotland County after Mrs. Dora (Sharber) found me… with Native American Heritage Month they wanted to do something that would showcase Native Americans in this community so I told her to set up an exhibition.
The window of the Storytelling Arts Center features an exhibit as well as several areas inside dedicated to honoring Native American heritage.
“This is a great opportunity to encourage a greater Native American presence not only within the Arts Council, but also to promote activities that would engage our Native community,” said Elk Locklear. “We have artists, we have writers, we have a whole plethora of creative minds in our indigenous communities, so we want them to come and participate and the community to see what we have created.”
Along with artefacts from Laurinburg resident Elk Lockear, Mary Beth Locklear also has items on display,
“One of the goals is for people to see that there is an aboriginal presence here and that we recognize the aboriginal people who are here,” said Elk Locklear. “Being indigenous is 27/7, 365, we celebrate not only in November but all year round, all the time, through ceremonies, through songs, through our poetry, through our pottery, through through powwows and kinship ties that we hope to develop through the various opportunities with the community.
The Director of the Arts Council, Olivia Fitzgerald, added that this was the first time that the Arts Council had put on an exhibition like this to honor the Indigenous community.
“We hope to have more events and start to be more present,” said Fitzgerald. “A lot of people settle in a community and they don’t know where or even if there is an arts center. So we want to introduce someone each month and bring in art from different people to open up the Arts Center to more people and just be a more visual part of the community.
The Arts Council is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday. For programming and events, follow the Arts Council of Scotland County / Storytelling & Arts Center of the Southeast on Facebook.
Join Katelin Gandee at [email protected]