JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Onslow Veteran’s Pow Wow is working to educate local youth about the Native American heritage. The organization is dedicated to revitalizing Native American culture in Eastern North Carolina and has some fun in store for the fall.

Tuesday, Onslow Veteran’s Pow Wow spoke with kids at the Onslow County Museum, sharing the history and traditions they’ve grown up with.

“I hope they leave with a good impression of Native Americans and how rich our culture is”, says founder Raquel Painter. “We’ve been around a long time, we are the first people of the nation, we are indigenous to the lands. So it’s very cool that they get to see Native Americans upfront.”

Raquel Painter, Sioux member, and Marine Corps veteran, is the founder of the Pow Wow, she wants to provide an opportunity for other Native servicemembers to celebrate their culture while allowing those not part of the culture to learn and experience the traditions and more.

North Carolina has the highest number of Native Americans east of the Mississippi River. Painter says with such a diverse community, especially with military families, it’s important to learn about those who are different from you and the good in those differences.

“We go to a lot of museums, libraries, and we’ve been to a few of the schools. We educate the children on Native Americans, we’re bringing our cultural items there for them to see, we dance for them, let them experience our music. So it’s very exciting to talk to the children because they are the future. And once everyone gets to know each other’s culture, it’s a shared experience, and it brings people closer together.”

Raquel Painter, Founder of Onslow Veteran Pow Wow

Onslow Veteran POW WOW will host a Pow Wow in Jacksonville on November 5-6. The event is free to attend. There will be live musical performances, traditional dances and food, drums, storytelling and much more.