The partnership between the UNC American Indian Center and the North Carolina Botanical Garden has been the process of many years – what started as an organic build shifted and deepened into a now very intentional and tight-knit approach. The American Indian Center regularly holds their Healthy Native North Carolinians Network workshops and NC Native Leadership Institute at the Garden. Prior to 2019, our organizations also partnered periodically on public education programs.

American Indian Cultural Garden

A plan for the American Indian Cultural Garden
Site plan for the American Indian Cultural Garden

In 2019, we established a partnership to create the American Indian Cultural Garden on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through engagement with campus and North Carolina American Indian people. The community-driven approach to the vision and design of the garden is summarized in this project report. The American Indian Center and North Carolina Botanical Garden are establishing this garden as a conservation-oriented garden on the campus to create a gathering place to celebrate American Indian cultures and Indigenous ecological knowledge, support American Indian students in adjusting to life on campus, and serve as a teaching tool for the greater community. This garden space affirms American Indian identity, culture, and Indigenous ecological knowledge for American Indian students, UNC campus community and local Triangle community, honoring Tribal Nations across the state and nation.

Follow the progress of this garden on the American Indian Center’s American Indian Cultural Garden webpage.


Native food and medicinal plants - sumac, sassafras, and cedar - on display at the Green Roots, Red Resilience symposium at NCBG.
Indigenous food and medicine plants on display at the Green Roots, Red Resilience symposium at the Garden.

We also partner on programming that is designed with and for the American Indian community, and we strive for our programs to be of continued value to the American Indian people across North Carolina, including members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, the Coharie Indian Tribe, the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the Meherrin Nation, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, the Sappony, the Waccamaw-Siouan Tribe, the four Urban Indian organizations – the local Triangle Native American Society, Cumberland County Association for Indian People, Guilford Native American Association, Metrolina Native American Association, and other American Indians from tribal nations outside of and beyond North Carolina as well as the general public.

Through new relationships built out of our work, mutual peer exchange, network building, and resource sharing among Native community and conservation professionals continues to emerge.

Recordings of past virtual and hybrid programs: 

Find upcoming programs


Our partnership has benefited by multiple years of support from the Triangle Community Foundation Sustainable Communities Program, including support for community engagement and design of the American Indian Cultural Garden, seed funding for Phase 1 implementation of the garden, and support for programming.

We are also grateful to the Jandy Ammons Foundation and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund for support for garden construction and infrastructure, and to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for support for garden programming.

To support the American Indian Cultural Garden and related programming, make a gift here.