Early Native American Indian Tribes in North Carolina - History, Life, Facts, Information and Timeline

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Early NC Native Americans Facts

500 BC Woodland period - start of Agriculture area. Its coming was late due to the fact that the Americas are cut off from the rest of the world.

900 AD - agriculture became important in NC because corn or maize arrived from Central America. It was Eastern Flint corn which was suitable for the environment. It was easily dried and stored for winter and its nutritional value was retained. This corn was easily grown because it can grow in most any soil. Corn transform Native American culture. It enabled Native Americans to stay in one place creating permanent village sites and therefore greater concentration of populations. They no longer had to follow the game. In addition, it created more leisure time for some in tribes. When diet improved according to Liebig's law of fertility population increases.

Fire presided corn. Native Americans cleared fields by slash and burn. They peeled bark and cut into the tree which is called girdling. It killed the tree. Then they would burn over the field. This gives back nutrients to the soil. Clearing fields around villages served as a security net - the tribe could see enemies coming - enemies had no where to hide. It also served to keep bugs and snakes away. The clearing of fields made it easier to travel. Most areas were burned yearly which created good hunting grounds because the new growth attracted deer, turkey and more game.

The longleaf pine nuts can only be released by fire. Without fire the longleaf pine will not germinate.

Many Native American societies were matrilineal meaning wealth and power descended through the mother's side rather than the father's. The mother was the head of the family.

Native American Tribes in North Carolina

Native American tribes that existed in Colonial North Carolina were: Cape Fear, Catawba, Cheraw, Cherokee, Chowanoc, Coree, Eno, Hatteras, Keyauwee, Machapunga, Meherrin, Moratok, Neusiok, Nottoway, Occaneechi, Pamlico, Saponi, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Tuscarora, Waccamaw, Waxhaw, Weapeneocs and Woccon.

Iroquoian Indians were the Tuscarora and Cherokee. The Tuscarora Indians lived on the coast where as the Cherokee Indians lived in western North Carolina. These two groups of Native Americans were related to the Iroquois tribe who lived in the region of upper New York and Canada in that their language and culture were similar to the Iroquois. The two tribes were enemies.

Algonquians tribe lived on the NC coast, coastal plains and in the tidewater area through Virginia and up to Massachusetts. These Native Americans were connected by similar language and culture. The Hatteras Indians were Algonquin. The coast had no predominate tribe as the mountains did.

Siouan Indians were the Catawba Nation and other tribes that lived in the Piedmont area. Most all the tribes in the region merged with the Catawba Nation due to disease and war. (As their numbers depleted due to disease, it left them open for attack from hostile tribes. There is safety in numbers.) The Siouan tribes were similar to the Dakota Sioux in their language, dress, homes, culture. There life centered around corn, agriculture, hunting and gathering.

Tri-racial Isolates were Indians who had mixed with whites and or African Americans. These are the Lumbee tribe that live in Eastern North Carolina. This tribe has never been recognized as a Native American tribe by the Federal government. The Lumbee Indians deny African mix.

Most Native American tribes had disappeared on the NC coast by 1700. Some relocated where as others died out. Many Native Americans tribes merged with larger tribes for survival. Warfare, migration and disease caused depopulation. (Virgin soil epidemics (small pox, measles and other diseases) were were new to natives and spread quickly causing an estimate of 90% decimation in populations.) Racial mixing (escaped slaves and whites) caused more destruction of culture.

Tribes that are now extinct: Cape Fear, Chowanoc, Coree, Hatteras, Machapunga, Moratok and Weapeneocs.

Tribes that may have merged with the Tuscarora were: Meherrin, Neusiok, Pamlico and some Woccon.

Tribes that may have merged with the Catawba were: Cheraw, Eno, Keyauwee, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Waccamaw, Waxhaw and some Woccon.

Tribes that may have merged with the Cherokee: the Nottoway.

Tribes that migrated north: Occaneechi, some Saponi and Tuscarora.

for more information see Native American Indian History

 

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