North Carolina Tribes
NORTH CAROLINA TRIBES
FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES IN NORTH CAROLINA
(Federal List Last Updated 5/16)
STATE RECOGNIZED TRIBES
(Not recognized by the Federal Governemnt)
- Coharie Intra-tribal Council. Letter of Intent to Petition 3/13/1981.
- Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe. Letter of Intent to Petition 1/27/1979. Notified of "obvious deficiencies" in federal recognition application
- Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians (a.k.a. Lumbee Regional Development Association Inc. and Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina).Letter of Intent to Petition 01/07/1980; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989).Petition reinstated in 1990s, federal recognition expected by summer of 2009.
- Meherrin Indian Tribe (I).Letter of Intent to Petition 8/2/1990. There is also an Unrecognized tribe with the same name, Meherrin Indian Tribe (II).
- Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation. Letter of Intent to Petition 01/06/1995.
- Sappony Tribe (formerly known as Indians of Person County, North Carolina).
For more than two centuries, the Sappony have lived in the central Piedmont area straddling the North Carolina-Virginia border. The Tribe of 850 members descend from the Sappony (Saponi) Nation that stayed behind when the rest of the tribe moved north to join the Cayuga in New York in 1753 and south to join the Catawba in South Carolina. The tribe established an Indian church in the 1830s and an Indian school, High Plains School, that was in use from 1888 until 1962. Another group was recognized by the state in 1913 as the Indians of Person County
- Waccamaw Siouan Tribe of North Carolina a.k.a. Waccamaw Siouan Development Association. Letter of Intent to Petition 06/27/1983; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989). Letter of Intent to Petition 10/16/1992; determined eligible to petition (SOL letter of 6/29/1995).
UNRECOGNIZED / PETITIONING TRIBES
- Cherokee Indians of Hoke County, Inc. (aka Tuscarora Hoke Co.). Letter of Intent to Petition 09/20/1983; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989).
- Cherokee Indians of Robeson and Adjoining Counties. Letter of Intent to Petition 02/01/1979; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989).
- Chicora-Siouan Indian People, Letter of Intent to Petition 2/10/1993. Also in South Carolina.
- Coree Indians (aka Faircloth Indians or Faircloth Indian Tribe). Letter of Intent to Petition 08/05/1978.
- Cumberland County Association for Indian People.
- Eno-Occaneechi Tribe of Indians. Letter of Intent to Petition 11/24/1997.
- Four Hole Indian Organization, Letter of Intent to Petition 12/30/1976.(North Carolina and South Carolina).
- Guilford Native American Association
- Hattadare Indian Nation. Letter of Intent to Petition 03/16/1979.
- Hatteras-Tuscarora Indians. Letter of Intent to Petition 06/24/1978: determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989). Merged with Tuscarora Nation East of the Mountains, 3/22/2004.
- Hollister - Sapone Indian Tribe
- Kaweah Indian Nation, Inc. Letter of Intent to Petition 04/28/1980; certified letter returned by P.O. 10/1997; Declined to Acknowledge 06/10/1985 (50 FR 14302).(North Carolina and Kansas).
- Indians of Person County (formerly Cherokee-Powhattan Indian Association). Letter of Intent to Petition 09/07/1984.
- Meherrin Indian Tribe (II). Letter of Intent to Petition 06/27/1995. There is a State recognized tribe with the same name, Meherrin Indian Tribe (I).
- Metrolina Native American Association
- The Roanoke-Hatteras Indians of Dare County. Letter of Intent to Petition 3/10/2004.
- Santee Tribe, White Oak Community. Letter of Intent to Petition 6/4/1979.
- Santee Tribe
- Summerville Indian Group. (North Carolina and South Carolina).
- Tsalagi Nation Early Emigrants 1817. Letter of Intent to Petition 7/30/2002.
- Tuscarora Indian Tribe (Drowning Creek Reservation). Letter of Intent to Petition 02/25/1981; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989). Group formally dissolved and Department notified group 02/19/1997.
- Tuscarora Nation of Indians of the Carolinas. Letter of Intent to Petition 12/21/2004.
- Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina. Letter of Intent to Petition 11/19/1985; determined ineligible to petition (SOL opinion of 10/23/1989).
- Tuscarora Nation East of the Mountains. Letter of Intent to Petition 9/8/1999.
- United Lumbee Nation of North Carolina and America, Letter of Intent to Petition 4/28/1980; Denied federal recognition 7/2/1985. (North Carolina and California).
FIRST CONTACT TO PRESENT
At the time of the first European contact, North Carolina was inhabited by a number of native tribes sharing some cultural traits, but also distinguished by regional and linguistic variations.
Three major language families were represented in North Carolina: Iroquoian, Siouan, and Algonquian. Iroquois speaking people included the Cherokee, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Coree, and Neuse River tribes. Algonquin speakers included the Bear River, Chowan, Hatteras, Nachapunga, Moratok, Pamlico, Secotan, and Weapomeoc tribes. The Siouan language family included the Cape Fear, Catawba, Cheraw, Eno, Keyauwee, Occaneechi, Saponi, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugaree, Tutelo, Waccamaw, Wateree, Waxhaw, and Woccon tribes.
The Iroquois tribes inhabited the mountains in the western portion of the state. The Siouan tribes lived in the central piedmont area, and the Algonquin tribes lived in the southern tidewater area.
PRE-CONTACT NORTH CAROLINA TRIBES
PRE-HISTORIC CULTURES IN NORTH CAROLINA
- Ancient times - The Eastern half of the state was underwater, and giant megalodon sharks roamed the waters. On land, there were wooly mammoths and mastodons. Archaeologists believe the first Native Americans crossed into the New World from Siberia some 12,000 to 10,000 years ago.
- Prior to 1500 - Approximately 30 Native American tribes were scattered across North Carolina. Chief among these were the Cherokee, the Catawba, the Tuscarora, and the Croatans. Native Americans built the Town Creek Indian Mound.
Experts believe approximately 7,000 coastal Algonquin people lived in the area prior to contact with Europeans in the 16th century. Many of these had migrated from the north.
There were probably around 6,000 people from Siouan tribes, although we know very little about these groups prior to the settlement of Europeans. They seem to have been a loosely connected alliance of tribes who eventually joined with the Catawba tribe.
The largest of the three groups of natives was the Cherokee, a part of the Iroquois tribes, who had probably migrated southward into the Appalachian Mountains prior to the time of Columbus’ exploration of the New World.
Sources of records on US Indian tribes