PEMBROKE, N.C.--Kaya Littleturtle is a Lumbee singer and drummer, and has been doing it since he was a little boy. He travels the nation as part of the group Thundervoice, but playing at his own tribe's homecoming in his hometown is special.
"The homecoming to me is just the biggest thing out of the entire year. Yeah there's a bunch of really big pow wows all through the U.S., but there's nothing like being able to walk the streets of your hometown, with people that you grew up with, and sing with your drum group five miles from your house," said Littleturtle.
His pride in the culture and heritage of his tribe was on full display Saturday, as the Lumbee homecoming of 2012 drew to a close with its final day of celebration. The 44th Annual Lumbee Homecoming featured eight days of events, including the final day's parade and pow-wow.
"[It] carries on a heritage of the Lumbees, it's something to pass on from generation to generation," said Jeremy Hunt, a Lumbee in attendance at the parade.
For some, the annual event is also about being proud of who you are.
"Everybody needs to be proud of who they are and what their culture is. Whether you're German or Irish, Native American or all the tribes, and we're Lumbee, and we're just so thankful," says Cynthia Locklear, who owns Cyna's Jewelers in Pembroke.
"I think my favorite saying, and it's something that my grandfather used to say is, that it's a good day to be an Indian, and I keep that really close to my heart," says Littleturtle.