Native American Heritage Month
For millennia, various nations of Indigenous Peoples, with their own tribal governments, social organizations and cultural traditions, had inhabited the lands now known as the United States of America. North Carolina currently is home to eight state recognized tribes including the Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, Sappony and Waccamaw-Siouan. Locally, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation dwelt in this region now known as Orange County; they had their own social, economic, and governance systems.<
In the 18th century, the United States of America was founded, and ever since, American Indian peoples have struggled and persevered to maintain their identity and their civilization, despite inhumane and unjust Federal policies focused on genocide, removal, and compulsory assimilation.
On Aug. 3, 1990, then-President George H. W. Bush declared November as National Native American Heritage Month with a bill honoring the Tribal People of America. The effort began in 1976, when Jerry C. Elliott-High Eagle, a Cherokee/Osage Indian, authored Native American Awareness Week legislation.
National Native American Heritage Month has become a platform for American Indians to share their culture, traditions, arts, and concepts of life. It also is a time for others to celebrate the myriad of contributions by Native Peoples past and present, and to honor their influence on the advancement of the United States.
The theme this year is “Strong Roots in Changing Times” to reflect the resilience of American Indians throughout the pandemic and continued preservation of their culture and traditions. The BOCC will consider a proclamation declaring November as Native American Heritage Month at the Nov. 16 meeting.
Children ages 5-11 can get vaccinated
On Thursday, Nov. 4, Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen visited Chapel Hill Pediatrics and Adolescents, P.A. to highlight and promote the wonderful news that our children ages 5 to 11 now can be vaccinated against COVID-19. Gov. Cooper and Dr. Cohen toured the clinic to see their operations in vaccinating our children, and then held a press conference in the lobby. I attended along with Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Durham Mayor Steve Schewel.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a lower dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children ages 5–11 receive the vaccine. Dr. Mary Braithwaite, a pediatrician at Chapel Hill Pediatrics & Adolescents, said "Vaccinating children against Covid-19 gets us another step closer to the end of this pandemic." She added, "We have reviewed the data, listened to our health leaders and we are confident that these vaccines are beneficial and safe."
This new development is another milestone in the fight against a deadly disease that has changed our world. As I said in my comments, it is a milestone offering hope. Orange County has begun the rollout of vaccines for our children ages 5 to 11. Parents and guardians will be able to take their youngsters to local pop-up clinics, schools, pediatric clinics, and pharmacies. For more info, visit the Orange County Health Department vaccine website
Supporting our Orange County students
At our Nov. 4 meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved a "RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE STUDENTS, STAFF, AND BOARD OF EDUCATION OF ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOLS WHOSE SCHOOL CLIMATE HAS BEEN ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY PROTESTORS." This action came at the request of the Orange County Schools Board of Education in response to disruptions by protestors at their recent Board meetings as well as displays of hostile and intimidating behavior, including racist and homophobic language by protestors at recent school events.
The BOCC shall work with Orange County Schools, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and the broader community to promote peaceful and civil discourse and behavior and support our students and school staff. In addition, BOCC has directed the Orange County Department of Human Rights and Relations and the Human Relations Commission to continue to study and recommend to the BOCC, within the next six months, measures that will promote civility among all groups in the county.
Many thanks to our students who courageously expressed their concerns.<
2021 Artist Studio Tour
This weekend, Nov. 13 and 14, is the second and final opportunity to enjoy the 27th Annual Orange County Artist Guild Open Studio Tour. Over 100 members, 102 to be exact, of the OCAG have opened their studios for the general public and look forward to seeing you and sharing their work and studio spaces. You may browse and/or buy.
Studio hours are Saturday, 10am to 5pm and Sunday, 12pm to 5pm. Look for the purple and gold "ocag" signs as you drive through Hillsborough, Carrboro, Chapel Hill and the rural roads of Orange County. For more information, visit www.ocagnc.org.
Longtime Homeowner Assistance Program accepting applications
Orange County's new Longtime Homeowner Assistance Program (LHAP) provides property tax bill assistance to help people impacted by the recent countywide property tax revaluation to stay in their homes. The Orange County Board of Commissioners initiated the LHAP on June 15, 2021, by allocating $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the program. To qualify for the program, applicants must:
- Live in Orange County;
- Have lived in their home for at least 10 years;
- Have experienced an increase in property taxes due to the 2021 tax revaluation; and
- Earn no more than 80% of the area median income
The Orange County Housing & Community Development Department began accepting applications Oct. 8. The deadline for submitting applications is Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, at 5 p.m., to allow time for processing.