The Native American Resource Center at UNC Pembroke is a multi-faceted research center and museum. The mission of the Native American Resource Center is to educate and serve the public about the prehistory, history, culture, art, and contemporary issues of American Indians, with special emphasis on the Native American communities of Robeson County, of North Carolina and of the American Southeast; to conduct scholarly research; to collect and preserve the material culture of Native America; to encourage American Indian artists and crafts persons; and to cooperate on a wide range of research and service projects with other institutions and agencies concerned with American Indians.
The Center’s activities support the mission of the University specifically by encouraging inclusion and appreciation of diverse cultures, and by celebrating the heritage of the institution (founded as a school for American Indians). The Center’s activities also contribute to the University’s mission through service to and appreciation of our multi-ethnic regional society, as well as by promoting engaged student learning and creative activity.
Our museum contains exhibits of authentic Indian artifacts, arts and crafts. These items come from Indian people all over North America, from Abenaki to Zuni. Many other items come from North Carolina Native Americans, with special emphasis on Robeson County Indian people. Particular focus is placed on the largest North Carolina tribe, the Lumbee.
According to local legends, the Indians of Robeson County are descendants of several tribal groups (three languages families - Eastern Siouan, Iroquoian and Algonkian) and John White's Lost Colony. Today, the Lumbee number over 50,000, with the majority residing in Robeson and adjoining counties.
The Center is located in historic Old Main, the first brick structure on campus (1923). Old Main is listed on the National Resister of Historic Places, and also houses the Department of American Indian Studies.
Research: The Center conducts and cooperates with other agencies on various types of research. Topics have included: archaeology of southeastern North Carolina; Native American health issues; Native American history and contemporary issues.
- Because It Is Right (An Essay About Lumbees and Federal Recognition)
- Robeson Trails Archaeological Survey (1988);
- Along the Trail: A Reader About Native Americans (1992);
- Robeson Crossroads Archaeological Survey (1993);
- The Lumbee In Context (2000);
- Fine In The World: Lumbee Language in Time and Place (2002);
- Lumbee By Grace: Landmarks in Indian Identity [VHS} (2002), Remastered (2007);
- River Spirits: A Collection of Lumbee Writings (2003);
- In The Heart Of Tradition: The Eight State Recognized Tribes and The North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs [DVD] (2005);
- A Healing Faith [Video] (2005);
- Our People: The Sappony [DVD] (2007);
- Dancing in the Garden of the Lord [DVD] (2007);
- Listen To The Drum: A Closer Look At American Indian Powwow Music [DVD] (2008)
- Our People: The Occaneechi Band of Saponi Nation [DVD] (2008)
- Our People: The Lumbee [DVD] (2009)
- Our People: The Coharie [DVD] (2011)
- Waccamaw Indian People of South Carolina [DVD] (2012)
Assembly Room: The Thomas Assembly Room seats approximately seventy people, providing space for classes, workshops and small meetings. In the Assembly Room facilities for film viewing are available. Several films and videotapes are shown at no cost to the public.
Films: In "Lumbee by Grace" Lumbee people talk about their sense of what it means to be Lumbee. "Indian By Birth" relates the story of Lumbee English, a remarkable narrative of linguistic adaptability and cultural perseverance.
Exhibits: An exciting variety of exhibits is on display, including prehistoric tools and weapons, 19th century Lumbee artifacts, contemporary Indian art and items which represent Native Americans from all over North America. New items are continuously being collected and put on display.
Tours: Tours of the Center are conducted free of charge. Schools groups, senior citizens, civic and community organizations are welcome. For large groups, please call for reservations.
Hours of Operation: The Center is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Saturday.
History of UNCP: The University of North Carolina at Pembroke began in 1887 as a school for Indians of Robeson County. For more than a half a century, it proudly and effectively educated only Native Americans. Today, the University is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, serving a multi-ethnic student body. But the University remembers its origins. Through the Department of American Indian Studies and The Museum of the Native American Resource Center, the University provides a diverse program focusing on prehistory, history, culture, art and contemporary issues of Native America. Indians and non-Indians alike who are interested in gaining knowledge and insight about America's first citizens will find this program most valuable.