A Night for Native Nations: A (G)local conversation about the nations that surround us

Local leaders of Native Nations joined the Global Neighborhood for dinner and conversation.

In celebration of Native Heritage Month (NHM), the Global Neighborhood hosted a dinner, inviting local leaders of Native Nations to Lakeside on Nov. 5.

W. A. Tony Hayes, chair of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, introducing himself at the Global Dinner.

Special guests in attendance included:

Jason Campos-Keck: With multi-racial heritage of African American (creole), Native American (Choctaw-Apache) and European, Jason Crazy Bear Tircuit Campos-Keck serves as the vice president of outreach for an international men’s organization focused on successful families, careers and communities. Campos-Keck is also a ceremonial bear dancer who performs healing ceremonies.

Crystal Cavalier-Keck: A member of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Cavalier-Keck is a doctoral student at the University of Dayton where she researches violence against Indigenous women. She also serves as president of the North Carolina Democratic Party Native American Caucus.

Sophia Diaz: An Elon senior, Diaz serves as president of the Native American Student Association (NASA), which will enter its second year this spring.

Kiah Glenn: Glenn is the assistant director of Elon’s Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (CREDE). She is of Taino lineage. The Taino are an indigenous Caribbean people. Glenn works closely with ANAM, which brings education, awareness, celebration and support for Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Alaskan Native, and multi-racial culture, history and social issues.

W. A. Tony Hayes: Chair of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Hayes has dedicated his time and career to focusing on the challenges facing Native American communities. He leads a wide variety of social, economic and political initiatives to help Native Americans in North Carolina.

Gwen Locklear: A member of the Lumbee tribe, Locklear currently serves as the coordinator of the Wake County Indian Education Program. She served as a member of the State Advisory Council on Indian Education.

Shawn Patch: Patch is an archaeologist with New South Associates, Inc., a cultural research firm based in Greensboro, North Carolina, that provides environmental, historical and archaeological research for projects.

Gwen Locklear, coordinator of the Wake County Indian Education Program, speaks with students and faculty.

Paula Patch, the faculty advisor for NASA, welcomed guests and opened the evening with a Land Acknowledgement of the roots and history of the Elon we know today. A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes the relationship between Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories, as well as acknowledging the contributions of other marginalized people.

For the evening’s meal, Elon Dining partnered with members of the Lumbee tribe to provide traditional native foods. The menu included baked ham, cornbread stuffing, turnips, vegetarian collard green sandwiches (with fried cornbread) and squash pie. Recipes came from “The Scuffletown Cookbook,” compiled by Gloria Barton Gates.

Students, faculty, staff and guests passed the evening in engaged and enlightening conversations. Among the topics discussed were the guests’ backgrounds, as well as their life and career paths; challenges facing Native communities; the issues of federal and state recognition of tribes; debates about DNA testing; and Native American identity.

Books by Native American authors raffled to the dinner’s attendees.

To conclude the evening, Global Neighborhood raffled off a variety of books written by Native American authors for the winning attendees to take home.

Join the Global Neighborhood and the CREDE in further conversation around Native American issues by attending a screening of the documentary “Return: Reclaiming Foodways for Health & Spirit” on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the Global Media Room.