HCC hosts third annual American Indian
Heritage Month Celebration
College hosted its third annual American Indian Heritage
Month celebration, Nov. 9 at The Centre. The keynote speaker
for the event was Dr. Ogletree Richardson.
“When I was growing up, I was always a
dreamer,” said Richardson. “One of my greatest dreams was to
become a school teacher.” She described the history of the
Haliwa Indian School and how her career in education began
there. She also talked about the work to re-open the school
as a charter school. Richardson achieved her dream of
becoming a teacher when she decided to enroll at a community
college in 1981 to pursue a degree. At the time, she had
five sons and a full-time job. She did not stop going to
school until she had earned a doctorate in education.
Tim Evans, a corporate attorney in the
Washington, D.C. area and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi
tribe, gave a national perspective on American Indian
affairs. “One of the biggest problems facing Indian peoples
at the national level that works its way down to the local
level is a problem of perception,” said Evans. “Tribes are
made of living, breathing people who are alive and well. We
are not some historical artifact.”
Alfred Richardson, executive director of
the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, talked about tribal affairs.
Federal recognition is a major concern. “We are the only
people in the United States who have to fight to have our
own government recognize us for who we are. No other race of
people has to do that,” explained Richardson. He also
highlighted programs and services that support tribal
Special recognition was given to former
Chief Jessie W. Richardson. Honored, Chief Richardson said
that he had tried to be a leader. “I love my people and I’ll
always work for them the best that I can,” he added.
During the program, poet Belle Frye
shared some of her poetry with the audience. Plus, there was
a presentation by Patricia Richardson who described
ceremonial dress and culture.
North Carolina’s American Indian
population totals nearly 100,000. It is the largest American
Indian population east of the Mississippi River, sixth
largest in the nation. There are eight American Indian
tribes in North Carolina.
HCC student Laura Richardson, left, and Roanoke Valley Early
College student Tyneisha Richardson, right, perform the
Ladies’ Jingle Dance during the third annual American Indian