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only 10 to 15 Indian students on campus. But some
students felt that Indians needed a central
organization on the predominantly white campus.
Students Forest Hazel, Kevin Maynor, Marsha Locklear
and Joyce Kramer were instrumental in laying the
foundation for the Circle.
"It's always a problem getting an organization
started' Kramer said. "With any volunteer
organization, you don't expect 100 percent
participation. But we had a pretty good show. There
were a lot more Indians on campus than we had
Although the Circle had some problems receiving
recognition, the problem quickly disappeared as the
membership grew. Kramer said students began to put
more time into the Circle. "Many realized where their
Carolina lnbn Clrcto Chief Joey Cell
priorities were. It takes time and commitment. The
Circle is not just a fling."
Kramer, who now is a UNC faculty member,
continues to act as an adviser to the Indian students, as
does Indian faculty member Cherry Beasley. But
Kramer said she feels the organization should remain
in the hands of the students.
There were three freshmen last
year who had grade point
averages of 3.7, 3.2 and 3.0. They
all dropped out and returned
The Circle has increased its student membership to
approximately 45 Indians, Bell said. The group has also
evolved from just a social organization to one that
works to educate others on campus about the Indian
identity of today and to emphasize the ethnic heritage
of its members. '
"Ethnic pride is very important. We hope to instill in
our members the pride in being an Indian and to
promote our culture to inform others," Kramer said.
NE way in which the Circle has tried to promote'
native American culture is through Indian
Culture Week. Held each spring semester for the
past five years, the week's activities range from native
dances and outdoor d rama in the Pit to f ilms and guest
speakers on Indian culture.
"It serves as a way to get the Indians on campus
involved in a project as well as exposing the
community to Indian culture and history," Bell said.
But there still exists a problem with Indian identity
and stereotypes on Carolina's campus. Many people
are aware of the presence, only of North Carolina's
Cherokee tribes, Bell said. The Circle is composed not
only of: Cherokee Indians, but the Lumbee and
on' res ervoYion
Cy MILODIE ALVES
1 N the movies and the history books, Indian life
I on the reservation has been portrayed as
hunting buffalo, making clothing from animal
hides and living in teepees. While this may have
been an accurate portrait during the days of
America's forefathers, Indian life on an reservation
is quite different today.
Janet Arch, a sophomore, grew up in Cherokee, a
reservation in North Carolina. Cherokee is an.
isolated mountain community, but physically it
resembles any other town in the state, she said.
"The government pays for the piece of land and
puts you there. You build up the land,you can have
it," Arch said.
The land is federally owned and it has been
designated for Indians to live on.
Members of the Eastern Band Cherokee tribe
don't practice all of the traditional customs and
ideas as do some, such as the Navaho on
reservations on the plains, Arch said, but a sense of
Indian culture still runs through the community.
"Everybody here works together in helping each
other. That's the way it was a long time ago," she
There are many people who work at various jobs
during the day and who like to come home and
tend a small farm or garden at night. "There's still a
mixture of both (old and new) ways," Arch said.
Efforts to modernize the community have not all
been to the advantage of the Indians on the
reservation. Arch said the schools are accredited,
but the education received in them is inferior.
Many students once were whipped for speaking
in their native Cherokee language.
. "If you are in the 11th grade in our school, you
would probably would get sent back to the ninth
grade if you went to a public school. The teachers
don't care, just as long as they get paid," sh said.
Arch also said that some people tend to get lazy
when they live on a reservation, because the
government offers many assistance programs.
"Indians who didn't grow up on a reservation
already understand that you have to go out and
fight for what you really want."
But having to fight for everything isn't exactly an
edge that some Indians would like to have. Joey
Bell, a senior, said growing up in the town of
Pembroke was not all easy. Although Pembroke is
heavily populated with Indians, the town is not a
reservation and is not isolated from other ethnic
"There is a small amount of tension when it
comes to matters of civil rights," he said. "Some
people have a tendency to look down on Indians."
But there is still a strong sense of kinship among
the Indians who live in Pembroke, Bell said,
because they all live in the same part of town.
Both Bell and Arch admit that whether an Indian
is raised on a reservation or not, a knowledge of
Indian heritage is always present.
'You've got the blood, but the way you think,
that's what makes you know that you're an Indian,"
Arch said. "We may envy those who have
preserved all of the traditional ways, but each has
chosen what they want.
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Coharie tribes as well. The Lumbee are reported to be
the fifth largest tribe east of the Mississippi River, he
"Many people still believe that all Indians ride
horseback and scalp people," Bell said. "Some also
think that we all live on reservations and don't come to
institutions like this."
Bell believes that this way of thinking has been one
of the major causes of the low retention rate for
Indians at Carolina. According to national statistics,
only about 15 percent of the Indians who enter college
graduate. Bell said the figure is only slightly higher
here at UNC.
'Many people still believe that all
Indians ride horseback and scalp
people. Some also think that we
all live on reservations
"Most Indians who come up here are not used to
stereotypes or people questioning their Indian
heritage. I have had people come up to me and say
'You don't look like an Indian, man. You look more
Spanish or Puerto Rican Back home, no one
Home for most Carolina Indian students is
Pembroke, which has a 95 percent Indian population.
Many of the Indian students return home after their
freshman year in college. Very strong home ties, rather
than grades, are another factor in the low retention
rate of Indians.
"There were three freshmen last year who had grade
point averages of 3.7, 3.2 and 3.0. They all dropped out
and returned home," Cell said.
"We're glad that the students maintain strong ties,"
Kramer said. "But we want them to get a full education
and then go back home."
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