Smithsonian puts spotlight on Lumbee

By: By Bob Shiles -

PEMBROKE — A national spotlight will be cast this week on the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina at the nation’s capital.

The tribe is being showcased at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on Thursday through Saturday. Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. is touting the event as “an unprecedented and monumental opportunity for the Lumbee people to narrate our own story to the broader public.”

The event will serve as a national stage for tribal members to show museum visitors from across the nation and around the world the Lumbee way of life, Godwin said. Emphasis will be placed on educating the public about Lumbee culture, history and traditions.

Activities begin Thursday evening with a reception thanking attendees for their support of the tribe. Charly Lowry, a tribal member and contemporary Lumbee artist, will provide entertainment.

On Friday and Saturday, a museum exhibit will offer an opportunity for Lumbee Days participants to walk through a visual timeline of the history of the Lumbee Tribe. There will be performances of traditional songs, dance and flute playing, plenty of entertainment from contemporary Lumbee artists and gospel groups, and a short re-enactment of “Strike at the Wind!”

Lumbee artisans will be displaying throughout the museum traditional artwork and crafts and interpreting to visitors their meaning as related to Lumbee culture. Young members of the tribe also will be demonstrating crafts.

Lumbee culinary specialists also will be on hand. Barbara and W.J. Strickland, originally from Robeson County and the first American Indian food vendors sanctioned by the Smithsonian to serve on the National Mall, will cater the Thursday reception. Local chefs Eric Fuller, Patrick Dial and Lester Locklear will prepare traditional Lumbee dishes using family recipes.

Events at the museum will be streamed live online on Friday. The live webcast can be viewed at

By Bob Shiles

Reach Bob Shiles at 910-416-5165.

Reach Bob Shiles at 910-416-5165.