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Native Americans of North Carolina

Essay by review  •  February 16, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,023 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,018 Views

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American Indians had been living in North Carolina for at least 9,500 years before European explorers first encountered them in the 1520's. For the past several decades an increasing number of Americans have been identifying as American Indians. For centuries before European contact, these native people lived in harmony with the natural environment, taking no more from the land than they needed to survive. Of all the states in the Union, North Carolina has witnessed the largest increase in Native American population during the past 100 years, based upon official government census documents.

The Indian population in North Carolina consists of one federally recognized Indian tribe (Cherokee), seven state-recognized tribes, and three state-recognized urban organizations. Through the years, Indian cultures changed rapidly, and some were all but wiped out.


The Coharie people are descendents of the Neusiok Indians. Since the 1730s the tribe has lived along the Little Coharie River in Sampson and Harnett Counties. In the 1800s the Coharie established schools with their own teachers and funds. In 1943 Coharie tribe started a high school. The tribe's center of activity is the church. While the Coharie population has been increasing steadily, and sometimes rapidly, over the years, so has their participation in both local and statewide endeavors. Modern Coharie have adapted well to a culture that is centered on written documents, yet they continue to preserve their customs and traditions through the oral method of recall.

Eastern Band of Cherokee

In 1838, the United States government made the Cherokee people leave their homelands. The forced march of the Cherokee to Okalahoma became known as the Trail of Tears. A small group of Cherokee who were allowed to remain the North Carolina Mountains became the Eastern Band of Cherokee. The Qualla Boundary reservation, where much of the tribe now lives, was charted in 1889. The total land base of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians consists of 56,573 acres in western North Carolina. 5,287 of the tribe's 6,311 members live on the Qualla reservation. The Eastern Band is a political body, administered by a chief and a vice-chief who are elected to four-year terms.


The Haliwa Saponi people are descendents of the Saponi, Tuscarora, Occaneechee, Tutelo, and Nansemond Indians. In the 1700s these five tribes merged, settling in the area of Halifax and Warren counties where the Haliwa Saponi live today. In 1957, the Haliwa-Saponi established the only tribal school recognized by North Carolina at the time. Today, the school building houses the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Charter School. The tribe's home base is in Hollister, NC. The tribe is under the leadership of a council and chief. The Tribal Council consists of 10 members, the Chief and the Vice Chief. The current population of the tribe is at least 3,005. The Haliwa-Saponi leadership has focused upon three major issues during the past two decades: tribal self-sufficiency, preservation of tribal culture, and improving the quality of life of its members.

Indians of Person County

For more than two centuries, the Indians of Person County have lived in the central Piedmont straddling in the North Carolina-Virginia border. They descended from a band of the Sappony Indian nation that stayed behind when the tribe moved north and joined the Iroquois in 1753. The tribe established a church in the 1830s and a school in 1888. Today, tribal members are documenting their past and revitalizing their community. The Indians of Person County make up one



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