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Raleigh NC


Tabitha Jacobs-Polanco

TRIBE: Lumbee & Guilford Native American Association

As a child Tabitha spent many hours watching Ms. Dot Ingram, a community elder, as she worked with older youth teaching them the art of regalia construction.  Tabitha would go home and cut up old sheets and fabric and “play” with her mother’s sewing machine long before she was old enough to participate in the class.  Later she taught herself to make the Lumbee dress regalia, which is shown in the image on this page.     

“What thrills me most is that I am able to tell a story with my regalia designs. I find a great deal of satisfaction in the creative process and in knowing that I am following in the footsteps of my ancestors.”

Tabitha’s talent has developed and become more progressive over the years, but her desire to express herself through art has not wavered. Her work has been exhibited at the Guilford Native American Association Art Gallery, the N.C. Indian Unity Conference’s Juried Art Show, the Kirby Gallery in Person County, the North Carolina Zoo during Native American Awareness Day, and the Native American Cultural Festivals of UNC-Greensboro, Lexington and Thomasville.  Find her on Facebook!

Now as an artist Tabitha feels gratitude to her community and wants to give back by teaching.  She shares her knowledge with the next generations so the artistic traditions will live on in those she leaves behind.

“Sewing brings me peace of mind, body and spirit, for I know that just a small piece of me is given to the recipient of the Regalia I am creating. Even though my physical body will not allow me to dance the way I did in my youth, each time I see one of my Regalia enter the dance arena, my heart soars and dances to the beat of the drum.”