Grand View School hosted the Native American Song and Food Festival on Nov. 17, and students and their families – some in Native American regalia – learned more about Indigenous cultures.

Glenda Sellers, Grand View’s family engagement coordinator and director of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, said one of the purposes of the festival was to spotlight Native American Heritage Month. She said they have held the festival since around 2017, but they have not participated in the event in the last couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to keep our culture going,” said Sellers. “We want to make sure that our young people know who they are, where they came from, and have a sense of belonging because of our Native American population at this school.”

The event featured Cherokee-related songs, dance, and food, offered to students and their families.

The school’s Cherokee language and cultural class sang several songs in Cherokee, including “I’ll Fly Away” and “Amazing Grace.” Sellers said other groups participated, such as the Cherokee Baptist Choir, Cherokee Adult Choir, and the Medicine Eagle Dance Troupe.

Sellers said that there were several different tribes in attendance, along with a few Cherokee Nation Ambassadors.

“It keeps everybody aware that we’re proud of our culture. We’re proud of who we are, and we want everyone to see the things we can do,” said Sellers.

Hog meat, crawdads, kanuchi, and other traditional foods were featured to help showcase another aspect of Native American culture. Several Cherokee National Treasures also displayed their skills through basketry, traditional weapons, and twining.

“It’s always an honor for our National Treasures to show their skills to the young people. They were able to go to their tables and touch the displays, and have some hands-on experiences with the culture,” said Sellers.

Seller said she hopes students who attended will try to keep the Native American culture and language alive.

“I hope they learn to carry on the culture as they get older, to teach it to younger students and kids,” said Sellers.