Lumbee River Conference for American Indian Women of Proud Nations
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2008 Conference Presenters and Speakers: To learn more, click the following links:

  Adiyah Ali


Adiyah Ali is a Field Organizer for Amnesty International, working in Amnesty’s Atlanta-based Southern Regional Office.  As a Field Organizer, Adiyah serves as the lead organizer for Amnesty in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.  Working with local activists and leaders, Adiyah helps develop events and campaigns on human rights issues, recruits new Amnesty groups and volunteers, and supports groups with advice and resources.

Adiyah has an extensive background with social justice work, including serving as Office Administrator and as Field Assistant for Amnesty's Mid-Atlantic Regional Office.  Adiyah's background also includes a Bachelors and Masters in International Relations and Public Policy, respectively, training in diversity outreach, workshop facilitation and conflict resolution, and she has worked in refugee services and for a U.S. Senator.

Adiyah has studied and worked on human rights issues both domestically and abroad.  Some of Adiyah’s field research work has led her to Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt and Turkey. Adiyah is interested in using Amnesty’s global campaign on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to advocate for marginalized communities and to increase diversity in Amnesty’s membership.

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  June Atkinson


June St. Clair Atkinson was elected as the North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction in November 2004, in a race that was decided by the N.C. General Assembly on August 23, 2005. Dr. Atkinson is the first woman elected to the post of State Superintendent, which also is a member of the Council of State.

As State Superintendent, Dr. Atkinson heads the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, an agency which she served for nearly 28 years (1976-2004) as a chief consultant and director in the areas of business education, career and technical education, and instructional services. A former business education teacher, Dr. Atkinson has been involved in instruction and curriculum development throughout her career. Improving instructional quality and student learning, creating environments that enable teachers' and students' success and ensuring that education is modern and relevant are key priorities for Dr. Atkinson.

Dr. Atkinson has made presentations to business and other educational groups in 43 states and throughout North Carolina. She is past president of the National Business Education Association, and past president of the Southern Regional Education Board's High Schools that Work in 1995-96 and 1996-97. Dr. Atkinson was elected by her colleagues to represent them as President of the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium for 2001-2003. She has received numerous state and national awards for her contributions and service to education.

Articles Dr. Atkinson has written have been published in numerous magazines and professional organization yearbooks. She is the author of Help with Computers, published by Glencoe/McMillan/McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, and Exploring Business and Computer Careers, published by West Publishing Company.

Dr. Atkinson grew up in rural Bedford County, Va., where she attended public schools and graduated from Staunton River High School, Moneta, Va., in 1966. She received a B.S. in Business Education from Radford University in 1969, an M.S. in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Tech and State University in 1974, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University in 1996. After graduating from Radford, Dr. Atkinson taught high school in Roanoke, Va., and Charlotte, N.C. In Charlotte, Dr. Atkinson's teaching assignment required that she work with business people to find meaningful employment for her students. Seeing that her students were prepared for both further education and work became her passion – a passion that she has carried forward in her work for North Carolina's 1.3 million public school students.

Dr. Atkinson is married to Dr. William Gurley, a Cary orthodontist and former assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. She has one sister, two nephews and one niece. She is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Cary.

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  Theresa Blanks


Coming soon!

  Carmen Calabrese


Dr. Calabrese is an executive, professor, and academic administrator, with substantial domestic and international experience. He is Executive Director of The Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship, and Associate Professor of Business at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. As Executive Director, he is responsible for implementing the mission of The Thomas Family Center for Entrepreneurship, which is dedicated to the advancement of entrepreneurship in Southeastern North Carolina through excellence in educational programs, research initiatives, and outreach efforts.

His teaching activities have been related to: Marketing; Strategic Business Planning; Management & Organization; Operations Management; Advanced Manufacturing Systems; Process Reengineering, Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy.

Dr. Calabrese's educational background includes a B.Sc. in Engineering from Drexel University; a MBA in Marketing/Management from Eastern Michigan University; and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

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  Wanda Maynor Carter


Wanda Maynor Carter, a native of Pembroke and long-time resident of Mecklenburg County, has devoted many years of volunteer service to the American Indian community and to the larger community of Charlotte.

She has been honored by the Indian Education Parent Committee of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, United Tribes of North Carolina, and by the National Indian Education Association as the 1991 ‘Indian Parent of the Year’.  A noted lecturer on American Indian History and Culture, Carter was appointed, in 1992, by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tom Foley, as a North Carolina delegate to the White House Conference on Indian Education.  In January 2007, Carter was among a gathering of Indian women leaders honored at the ‘Celebrating American Indian Women of Proud Nations’ ceremony. A member of American Indian Women, Inc. and Women’s Inter-Cultural Exchange, Carter also volunteers with several youth organizations.  In 1990, she was recognized for her corporate volunteerism by Duke Power Company with a ‘Power in Education’ award.

Carter earned degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Queens University in Charlotte, NC, and is a graduate of the North Carolina Bankers Association’s School of Banking.

She and husband Vail reside in Charlotte and daughter Candice is a resident of Raleigh.  Carter is on the management team of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

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  Shaman's Knot


Dean Chavers (Lumbee) is the director of Catching the Dream (formerly Native American Scholarship Fund). As director, Dean has helped 552 Native American students finish college, and has acted as the national leader of the Exemplary Programs in Indian Education (EPIE) movement, which has produced 33 Exemplary Indian schools. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford University and a B.A. from University of California at Berkeley.

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  Shaman's Knot


Mardella Sunshine Costanzo is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she graduated from John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School in 2005. She is the granddaughter of Mardella Sunshine Lowery.

Mardella is currently in her third year at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, majoring in American Indian Studies. Sunshine has served as the President of the Native American Student Organization at UNCP for the past two years. She is also a co-founder of UNCP’s Annual Spring UNITY Powwow. After graduation from UNCP, Mardella aspires to attend law school.

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  Shaman's Knot


Margaret Crites has served as the Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Center of Robeson County since 1996. She has served with the agency since January 1991. The agency has provided services to about 4,500 victims of sexual violence since opening.

Margaret has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and a certificate in Women's Studies from The Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned a certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and a certificate in Victim Assistance from the US Department of Justice.

Margaret has served two terms as the President of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  She has also served on several local boards, including Horizon Point Child Advocacy Center, the Humane Society of Robeson County, and the Department of Social Services Child Sexual Abuse Task Force.  She is currently serving on the North Carolina Sexual Violence Prevention Team, the Intersectionality of Oppressions Work Group, and the North Carolina Council for Women/Domestic Violence Commission’s Advisory Committee.

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  Brenda Dial Deese


Coming soon!

  Shaman's Knot


Carmen Paige Deese, a former Miss Indian NC and Miss Guilford Native American Association, is the 26 year old daughter of Robert and Carolyn B. Deese of the Prospect Community, Robeson County. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she majored in Communication Studies and is currently employed at Dougherty Equipment Company in Charleston, SC as the Corporate Marketing Manager. Carmen was the first American Indian from NC (only the 2nd nationally) to be selected to attend the Forbes Magazine Business Today Student Conference in New York City. Carmen was also an original member of the American Legacy Foundation’s Speakers Bureau for two years – an organization well known for their TRUTH campaigns and commercials - which enabled her to travel throughout the United States giving speeches on Smoking Prevention. From this experience, Carmen developed a passion for helping young people understand the addictive powers of commercial tobacco products. Her platform during her 2005-2006 reign as Miss Indian NC was “Youth Smoking Prevention and Education”. Using this platform on the NC Tobacco Powwow Tour, Carmen worked to introduce young people throughout the state to the traditional uses of tobacco and foster an understanding that commercial tobacco use does not qualify in this category. Carmen believes that NC American Indian youth have a powerful voice and wants to encourage all youth to find that voice and speak up against injustices and fight for changes that will benefit all!

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  Darlene Gabbard


Darlene Gabbard is the sole proprietor of Native Vines Winery in Lexington, N.C., an American Indian-owned winery.

Native Vines Winery began with two fruit wines, an apple and a blackberry, and presently offers nine fruit wines, six reds and three whites. The winery plans to add a special proprietors blend later this year.  The two fruit wines are sweet while the others are vinifera wines; some are slightly sweet and fruity and some are very dry. The winery strives to make its wines very palatable for even the youngest palates. According to Darlne, “wine should taste like fruit, not oak or any other additive and we do not add chemicals or pesticides to our products. We offer a clean, refreshingly delicious wine.”

To learn more about Native Vines Winery, visit

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  Willard Gilbert


Dr. Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert is an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe and is from the Upper Village of Moencopi in northeastern Arizona.  Dr. Gilbert is a Professor of Education at Northern Arizona University (NAU), Flagstaff, AZ.  He also served as Chair of the Educational Specialties Department (Special Education, Gifted Education, Bilingual/Multicultural Education, Career/Technical Education, and Educational Technology) in the College of Education at NAU.  His expertise is Curriculum and Instruction, American Indian education and Bilingual/Multicultural education and he has extensive experience as an administrator, faculty and researcher in higher education. 

As Principal Investigator of several multimillion dollar federal grants, Dr. Gilbert secured programs specifically for Native American and Hispanic students, teachers, and parents, including a ten million dollar NSF grant for the Navajo Nation. His National Science Foundation research project, the Native Science Connections Research Project (NSCRP), is a research model that successfully integrates native language, culture and traditions into the schools’ science elementary curriculum.  In conjunction, he also designed and implemented the Native Science Connections Supplemental Curriculum (NSCSC) with the Navajo, Hopi, San Carlos Apache and Zuni tribes. The NSCRP model is applicable to other cultures, grade levels and academic disciplines and demonstrates what works for Native American students in achieving academic success in an era of accountability as marked by NCLB.

Dr. Gilbert is currently President of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA).  Previously, he served as President-Elect and Secretary of NIEA.  He also served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) and the Hopi Education Endowment Fund (HEEF), a sixteen million dollar endowment fund that serves Hopi students’ educational pursuits.  He also served as HEEF’s President for two terms in 2005 and 2006.  In 2006, HEEF was a Harvard Honoring Nations “High Honors” Award recipient.

His consultancies include NASA’s Teacher Training Program, Navajo Nation Consortium, Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians Tribal EPA and numerous Native American tribes and school districts.  He is a recipient of the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) Award and NAU’s President’s Award.

Dr. Gilbert served in the U.S. Navy (1974-78) and he and his wife Christine have three grown children and six grandchildren.

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  Cathy Lowery Graham


Cathy Lowery Graham is presently employed with North Carolina Cooperative Extension as County Extension Director in Scotland County, NC.

Dr. Graham has been involved in education throughout her career even in previous positions as a middle school teacher and 4-H Youth Development Agent. She has known since she was a young girl that she wanted to work as an educator, because most of her notable role models were teachers, including her mother. She conducts educational programs and staff development workshops on grantsmanship, leadership, team building, and creative training techniques.

Her community service and volunteer roles include serving on both the Scotland and Robeson County Partnerships for Children, United Way of Robeson County, John Blue Cotton Festival, and as a foster parent for 4 siblings.

Dr. Graham received a bachelor's degree in Biology Education from The University of North Carolin at Pembroke, and a master's degree in Educational Administration from The Pennsylvania State University. Her doctorate degree is in Adult Education from North Carolina State University.

Other credentials include: North Carolina Rural Economic Development Institute graduate, National Extension Leadership Development Intern, Duke Nonprofit Management Certification, and Certified Human Patterns (psychometric instrument) administrator.

Dr. Graham resides in Pembroke, North Carolina, with her husband Vincent and son Peyton, who is three years old. She believes her most notable achievements are being a loving Christian, caring wife and nurturing mother.

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  LaDonna Harris


LaDonna Harris, President of Americans for Indian Opportunity, is a remarkable statesman and national leader who has enriched the lives of thousands.  She has devoted her life to building coalitions that create change.  She has been a consistent and ardent advocate on behalf of Tribal America.  In addition, she continues her activism in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection, the women’s movement and world peace.

Raised in Indian country on a farm near the small town of Walters, Oklahoma during the Great Depression by her maternal grandparents (an Eagle Medicine Man and a devout Christian woman), Harris modeled a life and career of mutual respect and personal choice and has an abiding belief that there is room for all traditions.  Because she spoke only Comanche when she entered grade school and because of her unique upbringing, Harris views all things with the wisdom and values of two cultures.

Harris began her public service as the wife of U.S. Senator, Fred Harris. Her partnership with Senator Harris made her a strong force in Congress where she was the first Senator’s wife to testify before a Congressional committee.  She was instrumental in the return of the Taos Blue Lake to the people of Taos Pueblo and to the Menominee Tribe in regaining their federal recognition.  Her guiding influence on both pieces of legislation led to landmark laws that set a precedent that still guides Indian policy today.

For more than 3 decades, Harris has been a strong voice for Native American rights.  In the 1960's, she founded Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity to find ways to reverse the stifling socio-economic conditions that impact Indian communities.  Today, this organization remains vital, serving the tribes of Oklahoma.  From the 1970's to the  present, she has presided over Americans for Indian Opportunity.  A catalyst for new concepts and opportunities for Indian peoples, this national organization works to enhance the cultural, social, political and economic self-sufficiency of tribes.  Harris also founded some of today’s leading national Indian organizations including the National Indian Housing Council, Council of Energy Resource Tribes, National Tribal Environmental Council, and National Indian Business Association.

Harris applies much of her energy to reinforcing and strengthening tribal governments.  She has encouraged tribes to reweave traditional value based methods of consensus building into their governance systems.  She has worked directly with the Winnebago, Poarch Band Creek, Oklahoma Apache, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Comanche, Pawnee, and Menominee tribes in assessing how these tribes can reincorporate traditional dispute resolution methodologies into contemporary systems of government.  “Tribal Issues Management System,” the process used to facilitate dialogue, was developed by Harris and has been used to facilitate resolution throughout the country and in two international forums.  Harris believes that as cultural groups throughout the world struggle for autonomy and as tribal and ethnic strife become the focus of unrest on nearly every continent, Tribal America has a unique opportunity to make a positive contribution to our global society.

Harris has spent many years training the executive branch of the federal government regarding tribes’unique role in the U.S. Federal system. She has held hundreds of forums on the issues surrounding the intergovernmental interaction between tribes and federal agencies.  She has published significant papers, including, To Govern or Be Governed: Indian Tribes at a Crossroads, Partnerships for the Protection of Tribal Environments, Indian Business Opportunities and the Defense Sector, Alternatives for Agriculture: Successful Tribal Farms, Hard Choices: Development of Non-Energy Non-Replenishable Resources, and Tribal Governments in the U.S. Federal System. In the 1980's,  Harris was instrumental in the adoption of official Indian policies by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture.

In helping tribes plan for the future, Harris recognizes the significance of the Information Age and the impact computer technology will have on tribal communities.  She has created the first Indian owned and operated computer telecommunications network – INDIANnet -- dedicated to establishing and developing free public access to electronic information and communication services for Native Americans.  The early 1990’s, Vice President Gore recognized Harris as a leader in the area of telecommunications in his remarks at the White House Tribal Summit and then Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown appointed her to the Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure.

Harris is most proud of the very successful national Indian leadership training initiative she help to develop, the Ambassadors Program.  Based on her past work with tribal governments and using traditional tribal values and perspectives as a foundation, this special Program is designed to empower a new generation of Native American leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.  This project is a fitting legacy to Harris’ devotion to strengthening tribal governments and gives Tribal America a new cadre of leaders blessed by her spirit.

As a national leader, Harris has influenced the agendas of the civil rights, feminist, environmental and world peace movements.  She was a founding member of Common Cause and the National Urban Coalition and is an ardent spokesperson against poverty and social injustice.  As an advocate for women’s rights, she was a founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus.  In 1980, as the Vice Presidential nominee on the Citizens Party ticket with Barry Commoner, Harris firmly added environmental issues to that and future presidential campaigns.  Her influence now reaches to the international community to promote peace as well.  She was an original member of Global Tomorrow Coalition, the U.S. Representative to the OAS Inter-American Indigenous Institute, and currently serves on the board of Women for Meaningful Summits.

During her career, she has served on many national boards: Girl Scouts USA; Independent Sector; Council on Foundations; National Organization of Women; Save the Children Federation; the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, and the Overseas Development Corporation.  Boards which she currently serves on include: Native American Public Telecommunications; the National Senior Citizens Law Center; Think New Mexico; and Shakespeare in Santa Fe.  She also serves on the following advisory boards: the National Museum of the American Indian; American Indian Ritual Object Repatriation Foundation, National Institute for Women of Color; Pax World Foundation; and the Delphi International Group.  In addition, she was appointed to the following Presidential Commissions:  National Council on Indian Opportunity (Johnson); White House Fellows Commission (Nixon); U.S. Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year (Ford); Commission on Mental Health (Carter); she represented the United States on the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) (Carter) and served on the Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History (Clinton).

Finally, Harris has raised three children: Kathryn  Harris Tijerina, the New Mexico Director for External Affairs for the University of Phoenix;  Byron is a technician in television production in Los Angeles; and Laura works with her mother as Executive Director at Americans for Indian Opportunity.  Harris is especially proud of her seventeen year old grandson, Sam Fred Goodhope who calls her by the Comanche word for grandmother, Kaqu.

Her compassion, vision, and sense of justice has lent us a deeper and richer understanding of the true meaning of public service.  As the United Nations recognized the 1990's as the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples, LaDonna Harris draws upon the rich and wise values of her Comanche tribal culture to serve her tribe, Indian people and all peoples.

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  Kenda Brooke Hunt


Kenda Brooke Hunt, reigning Little Miss Lumbee, is 8 years old. She resides in the Prospect community, north of Pembroke, N.C., with her parents Kent and Nahir Hunt and her 7 year old brother Kajun.  Her paternal grandparents are Gurney and Bessie Hunt.  Her maternal grandparents are Denzel and Joan Locklear. She is a 3rd grader at Prospect Elementary where she is a straight A student.  She recently won 1st place in the school science fair. Kenda recently received the Terrific Kid award. She is a member of Prospect United Methodist Church where she is very active in the Children’s choir and the Drama team. Her hobbies include singing karaoke with her daddy, playing basketball, reading and shopping.

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  Jessica Jacobs


Jessica Jacobs, Miss North Carolina, grew up in the 'Furniture Capital of the World," High Point, NC. She trained and performed with the High Point Ballet from her elementary school days to the day she graduated from Ledford High School in 2002.

Jacobs is a lifelong Tar Heel fan and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Journalism school alum; however, in May 2007 she finished her first year as a graduate student of organizational communication at North Carolina State University where she is a full tuition scholar and public speaking instructor.

Jacobs founded the “Read to Me” literacy program in Davidson and Randolph Counties and will work to develop the program throughout North Carolina. As Miss North Carolina, Jacobs is also an ambassador and fund raiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. Jacobs will compete for the title of Miss America early next year.

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  Bobbie Jacobs-Ghaffar


Bobbie Jacobs-Ghaffar is the President and CEO of Native Angels Home Care & Hospice Agency, Inc.,  a homecare,  hospice and mental health  agency based in Robeson County, which she co-founded with her sister, Lesa who is a Registered Nurse. She also founded Native Angels Home Health based in Cumberland County, Angel Elite Sports Foundation, Angel Exchange, LLC and the Fulfillment Center. This past April Native Angels was named the 2007 State and National Small Business of the Year by the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. Bobbie received the UNCP Distinguished Alumni award February, 2007.

Bobbie is a life-time resident of Robeson County and a member of the Lumbee Tribe. She has been very involved in community health and human services her entire career and has served on numerous local and state boards in the areas of education, environment, youth, health, minority, and women’s issues.

She is a past board member of the Legal Services Board of North Carolina, the NC Client and Community Development Initiative Board, the Fund for Southern Communities, Robeson Health Care Corporation, and the NC Child Fatality Task Force and the NC Teachers Fellows Selection Committee. She is currently a member of the UNCP Foundation Board.

Bobbie is a proud graduate of South Robeson High School and attended The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where she majored in Biology and met her husband Abdul Ghaffar. They have been blessed with three beautiful children, Safiya Sade, Aminah Sane, and Walter Hardy.  They reside in the Deep Branch community. Bobbie is also a member of St. Joseph’s Miracle Revival Center and Solid Rock Ministries and is licensed as a minister.

She continues to advocate for social justice addressing social, racial and cultural barriers in her community. She has been a guest speaker at Wake Forest University, Duke University, Boston University and UNC Pembroke. Mrs. Ghaffar also works collaboratively with local and state leadership to foster and promote economic development, focused on a regional approach that empowers individuals.

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  Shaman's Knot


Chrystal Kay, a resident of Parkton, N.C., has been a volunteer with the Rape Crisis Center of Robeson County since 2001. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and is enrolled in Campbell University's Law School.

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  Clara Sue Kidwell


Dr. Clara Sue Kidwell is currently Director of the American Indian Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is an enrolled member of the White Earth Chippewa tribe, and is also of Choctaw descent.

She received a B.A. in Letters (1962) and a M.A. and Ph.D. in History of Science (1970) from the University of Oklahoma. Before joining the faculty there in 1995 she served for two years as Assistant Director of Cultural Resources at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.  Her previous teaching positions include, Associate Professor and Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley (1974-95), Visiting Assistant Professor in Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire (1980), Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota (1972-74), Instructor of Social Sciences at Haskell Indian Junior College in Lawrence, Kansas (1970-72), and Instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute (1968-69). Prior to coming to North Carolina she was director of the Native American Studies program and Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Her publications include Choctaws and Missionaries in Mississippi, 1818-1918 (Norman:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1995), A Native American Theology (Maryknoll, New York:  Orbis Books, 2001), co-authored with Homer Noley and George Tinker;  Native American Studies (Edinburgh:  University of Edinburgh Press, 2005) co-authored with Alan Velie, and The Choctaws in Oklahoma:  From Tribe to Nation 1855-1970 (Norman:  University of Oklahoma Press, 2007).

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  Felecia Locklear


Felecia Maynor Locklear is presently the principal at Brooks Museums Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Mrs. Locklear began at Brooks in 2001 and led her school into converting into North Carolina’s only museums magnet elementary school.  Brooks has a strong focus on hands on, project based learning, and integrates their curriculum with the specific happenings at the local museums.

Prior to serving as a principal, Felecia has been an assistant principal and classroom music teacher in the Wake, Guilford, and Robeson County Schools.

Mrs. Locklear resides in Cary, North Carolina. She and her husband have two daughters who are a senior at NC State University and a senior at Apex High School.

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  Kathy Dae Locklear


Kathy Dae Locklear is the Dropout Prevention Coordinator with the Public Schools of Robeson County (N.C.). She has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from Pembroke State University and a Masters in School Counseling from Campbell University.

Married to Darlton Locklear for 32 years, Kathy Dae has two children, a son who is an engineer and graduate of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a daughter who is an educator and graduate of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is a member of Mt. Airy Baptist Church.

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  Concetta Lowery


Concetta Lowery is a sophomore at Dartmouth Univeristy, majoring in Native American Studies and minoring in Government. She is a Gates Scholarship recipeint and an intern for the Indian Education Resource Center. After graduation from Dartmouth, Concetta plans to attend law school at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a 2006 graduate of Fairmont (N.C.) High School.

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  Cammie Hunt Oxendine


Cammie Hunt Oxendine is the Assistant Dean for the School of Business of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is a member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe and resides in Lumberton with her husband David Oxendine and children Cameron and Alexis. Ms. Oxendine received her undergraduate and MBA degree from UNC Pembroke and is currently working on her PhD in Organizational Management.

Ms. Oxendine began her career as a Branch Manager with First Union National Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina. After three years, Ms. Oxendine had a strong desire to return "home" and make a difference in her native home.  She was hired as the first Executive Director for the Robeson County Enterprise Development Grant.  With this $3 million dollar grant, Ms. Oxendine was responsible for coordinating and implementing a comprehensive program that would build sustainable community development in identified areas of Robeson County.

Working with this grant program allowed Ms. Oxendine the opportunity to see the vast business needs of the region surrounding Robeson County, hence when she was approached to become the Director for the Small Business & Technology Development Center at UNC Pembroke there was no hesitation in her acceptance.  This position allowed her the opportunity to work hands-on with many American Indian business owners to improve the profitability of their companies and to help many write business plans that gave them the foundation needed to begin the pursuit of their dreams.

In the Fall of 1998, Ms. Oxendine was approached by the Chancellor of UNC Pembroke and the Dean of the School of Business and asked to become a full-time member of the Faculty.  Ms. Oxendine felt this was a great honor and one that could not be passed up; hence, she accepted and began work on the greatest chapter of her professional career--teaching.  During the Fall of 2006, she was promoted to Assistant Dean for the School of Business. Ms. Oxendine is very active on several committees at UNCP and serves on the UNCP Foundation Board.  Also, Ms. Oxendine is a member of the North Carolina Indian Economic Development Initiative board.

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  Lisa Huggins Oxendine


Near 40, Lisa Huggins Oxendine decided to ASIL! -Aspire!  Succeed!  Interject! And Live by the grace of God.  Thus, she wrote and published, The Pink Begonia Sister’s Caribbean Retreat.  The story of three Native American women from southeastern North Carolina who turn 40 and deal with breast cancer before deciding to live differently-in the Caribbean.

The book has crossed the country since its release in July 2006.  It was used in a conference in Minnesota organized by the Mayo Clinic and others and has even been promoted in an architecture class at Yale University!  Carolina Country Magazine will include it in either their February or March 2008 issue in The Bookshelf section.  In 2008, some Robeson County teachers will begin using the book in their classes.

Lisa’s goal for 2008 - Pink Begonias around the world!  This is a project to increase reading, sharing, and the feeling of community around the world.  She asks readers to read The Pink Begonia Sister’s Caribbean Retreat, write an encouraging note in it and send the book to family, friends, students, persons with similar professions, teachers, book clubs, etc. in another city, state, and/or country.  Then, send Lisa an email so she can keep track of the states and countries reached.  It’s a great project for groups, students, and individuals.  It encourages folks to read and share a story with a message which can positively influence lives.

Lisa Huggins Oxendine previously wrote and published God’s Breath, Writing to God While Quitting Tobacco, Christian Fitness: An approach to mind, body, and spirit.

She is founder of “That I Might Enjoy Life Ministries” which publishes her books and art.  Her art is owned by the North American Mission Board, NC Baptist State Convention, Burnt Swamp Baptist Association, and private collectors.  It has been shown to promote breast cancer awareness and helped raise funds for scholarships at UNC-Pembroke Friends of the Library and Purnell Swett Marching Band.

In 2007 Lisa “retired” from medicine to pursue writing full-time.  God’s plans included more than Lisa anticipated.  Now, she writes at home or wherever she finds herself, speaks often to groups, and she teaches health and mathematics as Adjunct faculty at UNC-Pembroke.  Everyday is like Christmas!

Lisa earned B.S. and MAEd degrees from UNC-Pembroke and Physician Assistant Certificate from Wake Forest University.

Her home is in the Union Chapel community of Robeson County with her husband, Terry and daughter Anastasia.  She is a teacher at Island Grove Baptist Church.

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  Mabel Revels


Coming soon!

  Helen Scheirbeck


Helen M. Scheirbeck is the Senior Advisor for Museum programs and Scholarly Research at the National Museum of the American Indian for the Smithsonian Institute.

She is a member of the Lumbee Tribe whose headquarters is Pembroke, N.C. Helen is a graduate of Berea College, K.Y. with a BA in History and Political Science. She has also attended Columbia University's School of International Relations, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of California at Berkeley. Helen has a Doctorate of Educational Administration with Public Policy emphasis form VPI-State University in Blacksburg, V.A.

Dr. Scheirbeck has had a long career working for Indian control of educational institutions, the development of Indian trial governments and communities and on issues related to Indian children and families. She was the first Indian intern to serve at the National Congress of American Indians. Helen served as a professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights. In that capacity, she staffed the hearings on the constitutional rights of Indians, which resulted in three pieces of national legislation. She also worked as a special assistant to the Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Madison and was instrumental in organizing a Center for Leadership Development.

Dr. Scheirbeck also worked in the U.S. Office of Education/DHEW where she was instrumental in organizing the Indian Education Division (formerly Title IV). Helen helped launch the Indian Tribally controlled Colleges and Universities movement. Later, she chaired the Indian Education Task Force of the American Indian Policy Review Commission. This commission brought forth a number of recommendations that have affected current national Indian education policy.

In the areas of children's rights, Dr. Scheirbeck served as the program director for the National Commission on the Rights of the Child and the White House Conference on Children, Youth and Families. She also worked in the private sector for Save the Children Federation as their American Indian Nations Director.

Prior to coming to the head Start Bureau, Helen worked in North Carolina as the founding director of the North Carolina Indian Cultural Center.

She has published and spoken extensively throughout the United States relating to American Indian rights, issues, culture and language. Helen has a deep interest in cultural regeneration and enhancement. She has extensive knowledge of Indian cultural institutions and artists and craftsman as well as spiritual leaders and their practices. Her entire career has been devoted to advocating Indian rights and self-determination and encouraging the growth and organizing Indian educational institutions.

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  Brittany Simmons


Brittany Elizabeth Simmons is the daughter of Nakoma Simmons of Lake Waccamaw, NC and Dale Simmons of Ash, NC. She is the granddaughter of Homer and Eileen Spaulding of Lake Waccamaw, NC. Brittany is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a Bachelor degree in English and a minor in American Indian Studies. She has a drive and determination that is matched only by her commitment to serving others.

In 2006, Brittany created the Waccamaw Siouan Cultural Day Camp (WSCDC) in response to the high rates of arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure. WSCDC combines her enthusiasm for young people and her commitment to educating and preserving the next generation. Brittany teaches healthy lifestyle choices through living a traditional lifestyle. The participants learn traditional songs, dances, arts, and values integrated with scientific knowledge.

Brittany collaborated and created Indigenous Nations Sharing Health Achievements, Resources and Education (INSHARE). This program houses summer medical student volunteers and provides opportunities for them to work in the Waccamaw Siouan and Tuscarora communities. INSHARE partnered with Native Health Initiative, an organization based out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to obtain student volunteers from all around the world including Canada, Norway, Poland, Vietnam, Texas, and Washington. In addition to their role in the Tuscarora Summer Enrichment program and the Waccamaw Siouan Cultural Day Camp, the volunteers’ experiences included Indigenous traditional healing, interviewing tribal members, conducting health screenings for shut in elders, creating a health assessment, and interning with American Indian medical professionals.

Brittany is an advocate of American Indian youth throughout North Carolina. She is a consultant for the Public Schools of Robeson County Indian Education program, one of the largest Indian Education Programs in the country. She spends time teaching drumming, dancing, singing, and history to participants in the After Hours Cultural Academy, which has over five hundred applicants each year. Brittany is also a North Carolina Native American Youth Organization (NCNAYO) advisor. During the past five years, she has work with the NCNAYO pageant to develop it into a teaching tool for American Indian culture while integrating modern themes and talents. In 2003, she was a workshop facilitator for the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) Conference. Her workshop was geared toward the youth that participated in the conference.

As Miss Indian North Carolina, Brittany has traveled to many places, sharing the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to improve the quality of life for North Carolina’s American Indians. She has participated in several events including Promoting and Cultivating Minority Health Disparities Conference, North Carolina Native American Youth Conference, Grassroots Convening, Waccamaw Siouan Drum Circle Diabetes Awareness Social, as well as pow wows, schools, and churches across North Carolina.

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  Mary Kim Title


Mary Kim Titla is Publisher of Native Youth, an award winning e-magazine that showcases the talents and lifestyles of Native youth in the U.S. and Canada.

Titla, San Carlos Apache, is a 20-year veteran TV News Reporter who spent most of her career working for NBC affiliate stations in Arizona. In 2007 she was inducted into the Cronkite Hall of Fame at Arizona State University.

In 2006 her e-zine received a First Place Award from the Native American Journalists Association for Best Website (among national Native websites), a First Place Award from the Arizona Press Women's Association for Best Website Creation/Development and Third Place from the National Federation of Press Women (among national mainstream websites).

In addition, Titla has won numerous awards for her reporting including First Place Awards from the Associated Press, Arizona Press Club and the Native American Journalists Association. She's also been the recipient of many awards for her work with Native American and Alaskan Native youth including the Ira Hayes Honorable Warrior Award. She has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Mass Communication from Arizona State University.

Titla left her TV News job in December of 2005 to work full-time on Native Youth with the goal of going to print. She is also CEO of "Titla Consulting," specializing in Media Relations and Motivational Speaking. Titla has served as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY). She's been an active member of the Native American Journalists Association, Arizona Press Women, San Carlos Gilson Wash Enterprise Board and the Point of Pines Cattle Association.

In May of 2007, Titla announced her bid as a Democratic candidate for Arizona's First Congressional District seat. She and her family are members of Crossroads Church of the Nazarene. She is married to John Mosley, Assiniboine/Paiute. They have three sons.

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  Nicole Wheeler


Nicole Wheeler (Comanche/Hispanic descent), works as the Community Liaison & Communications Coordinator at Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is charged with building relationships with organizations and coordinating public education outreach.

Nicole studied Communication at Cornell University where she served as the Chairperson of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, treasure for Native American Students at Cornell, was an active member of the Hawai’i Club, and varsity softball team. 

Nicole’s work and research has lead to extensive travel throughout Latin American and Polynesia. Her research and internship experiences include:  The Advancement of Maori Opportunity, Hamilton, New Zealand; Center for Disability Studies at University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu Hawaii; and the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation/Cornell University, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. She has presented at national, state and local events, such University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s New Directions in American Indian Research and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s Annual National Conference. She is published in numerous journals, newspapers, and magazines.

Nicole has worked at non-profits and Universities for the past five years aiding in student services, curriculum development and leadership.  Currently, she serves on advisory councils for local secondary schools and volunteers for political campaigns.

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  Ulrike Wiethaus


Ulrike Wiethaus, Ph.D., is Professor of the Humanities, Interdisciplinary Appointments at Wake Forest University (Ph.D., Temple University, 1986). The author of numerous books and articles on the history of Christian spirituality, she has been involved in service learning collaborations with American Indian communities in South Dakota and North Carolina for several years. Her interdisciplinary projects include a three hour documentary entitled Lakota Language Revitalization: Interviews with Elders on the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota (Completed Fall 2005), and an edited volume of essays on American Indian and Indigenous sovereignty entitled Foundations of First Peoples’ Sovereignty: History, Education, and Culture (2008).

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  Aubrey Young


Aubrey Young is 13 years old and lives in Matthews, N.C. with her parents Bryan and Myra Young and her brother Devan Young. She is in the 8th grade at Queens Grant Community School where she is an A/B student and is very dedicated to her schoolwork. Aubrey also enjoys being a member of her school concert choir, cheerleading squad and tennis team.  Her passion in life is dance and she has devoted 11 years of her life to her love of dance. She is a student at Dance Productions Studio of Performing arts owned by Lori Oxendine Long. Aubrey has won many honors at dance competitions regionally and nationally but her highest honor came last year. She auditioned for the world renowned Joffrey Ballet School summer ballet intensive in New York City and was accepted. She spent 4 weeks in New York City attending daily classes at Joffrey. This year, when it came time to get her music selection for her solo dance, she approached her dance instructors with the wish to incorporate music to reflect her Native American ancestry and how proud she is of her heritage. The song she selected, “Spirit of a Woman” reflected to her the strength and beauty of Native American Women and their determination and ability to overcome all obstacles. This dance is a tribute to her heritage and all the strong and determined Native American women past and present.

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Last Updated: Friday, May 6, 2011