Coharie Tribe


Last Updated: 5 years

The Coharie Indian Tribe is recognized as an indian tribe by the State of North Carolina. They are descended from the  Iroquoian-speaking Neusiok and Coree, as well as the Carolinan Iroquoian Tuscarora, and the Siouan Waccamaw, who occupied what is now the central portion of North Carolina. The Coharie have intermarried predominantly with the Lumbee and Tuscarora Indians of Robeson County, as well as with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Official Tribal Name: Coharie Indian Tribe
Address: 7531 N US Hwy 421, Clinton, North Carolina 28328 
Phone: 910-564-6909
Fax: 910-564-2701

Official Website:

Recognition Status: State Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: Coharie is from Schohari, which means Driftwood. The tribe is named for its primary community, which is  named after Tuscarora Chief Coharie (Cohary) who was killed alongside Chief Hancock during the Tuscarora war.

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Mispellings:  Schohari, Lumbee

Name in other languages:

Region: Northeast

State(s) Today: North Carolina

Traditional Territory:    Early records indicate the tribe sought refuge from hostilities from both English colonists and Native peoples, moving to this area between 1729 and 1746 from the northern and northeastern part of the state.

Confederacy: Iroquois


Reservations: They do not have a formal reservation.

Land Area: The community consists of four settlements in Harnett and Sampson counties, North Carolina : Holly Grove, New Bethel, Shiloh and Antioch.
Tribal Headquarters: Clinton, North Carolina
Time Zone:  Eastern

First European Contact:

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today:  The Coharie have approximately 2,700 members with about 20 percent residing outside the tribal communities. Regular contact with the tribal communities is a requirement of tribal membership. Exceptions are made for persons in the military or who are encarcerated in a prison.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements: You must be able to trace lineage to an ancestor listed as Indian on the 1900 and/or 1910 Federal Indian census records for Robeson and adjoining counties (excluding Columbus County, NC). In addition, you must maintain involvement in tribal activities. You must apply for enrollment in person and demonstrate knowledge of the tribe’s culture.

Genealogy Resources:


Charter: The state of North Carolina recognized the Coharie Tribe in 1971.
Name of Governing Body: Coharie Intra-Tribal Council, organized as a private non-profit organization.
Number of Council members: 7 council members
Dates of Constitutional amendments:
Number of Executive Officers: Council governed by a Chief


Language Classification:

Language Dialects:

Number of fluent Speakers:



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes: Tuscarora, Lumbee, Cherokee

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Traditional Enemies:


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Modern Day Events & Tourism: An annual pow wow is held the second weekend in September.

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Economy Today:

Religion & Spiritual Beliefs: Many members are affiliated with churches in their communities:

  • New Bethel Baptist Church: northern Sampson County

  • Holly Grove Holiness Church: southern Sampson County

  • Shiloh Holiness Church: western Sampson County

  • Antioch Baptist Church: Harnett County

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs

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Tribal College:

Coharie Chiefs & Famous People:   

Tuscarora Chief Coharie

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

Historians generally contend that the Coharie are descendants of the Iroquoian-speaking Neusiok and Coree, as well as the Iroquoian Tuscarora, and the Siouan Waccamaw, who occupied what is now the central portion of North Carolina. In the early seventeenth century, the Coree lived along the Big Coharie and the Little Coharie Rivers in present-day Sampson County, North Carolina.

Between 1730 and 1745, intertribal conflicts as well as competition over land and resources between Native peoples and English colonials caused numerous wars. The trade in deerskins and Indians found some tribes capturing members of traditional enemy tribes to sell as slaves to the colonists. In addition, Eurasian infectious diseases such as measles and smallpox, to which the Natives had no natural immunity, decimated many communities. The epidemics disrupted their societies.

Families of Coree, Waccamaw, and Neusiok Indians began to seek refuge from colonial incursions in the coastal areas of northern and northeastern North Carolina. They moved to the frontier, what is now Harnett and Sampson counties. There they established a small base. Survivors intermarried and created a new community.

Throughout the 1800s, the Coharie built their community in Sampson County. As free people of color, the Coharie held the right under state law to own and use firearms, and vote in local elections. But, the 1830s brought events that reduced their civil rights. The federal Indian removal policy of the 1830s forced tribes from the east to move west of the Mississippi River. More significantly, following Nat Turner’s slave rebellion of 1831, the state passed legislation on 1835 reducing the rights of free people of color. They lost their right to vote and bear arms. The rebellion has so frightened slaveholders that they sought to control gatherings of free blacks, their voting, and right to bear arms.

In 1859, the Coharie established their own subscription school. In 1911, the Coharie asked the state to provide Indian schools in Sampson County. In that same year, the Coharie established New Bethel Indian School in New Bethel Township. In 1912, the Coharie established a school in Herring Township; after the first year, the state stopped supporting the school. Under segregation, it already supported one for colored children (a group to which it classified all non-white children, a group to which it assigned the self-identified Coharie.)

Following the precedent set by the Croatan (now Lumbee) of Robeson County, the Coharie established a semi-independent school system, for which North Carolina retained some oversight. While the state legislature rescinded its permission for the system in 1913, it reinstated the separate Coharie school system four years later. The tribe had lobbied the state legislature with assistance from its attorney. In 1917, the East Carolina Indian School was built in Herring Township.

In the News:

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