Saturday, November 01, 2008

American Indian Heritage

(click on photograph for larger image)

The photograph above is of the American Indian Artifacts display in the Richmond-Miles History Museum in Yanceyville, North Carolina. For more about the Museum and its hours of operation contact the Caswell County Historical Association.

For more on Caswell County American Indian artifacts see Early American Artifacts In Caswell County.

The following is from , When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977):

The Eno, the Shackori, and the Occaneechi tribes were the most numerous in the neighborhood of Caswell County, but there were two other tribes which may have been in the vicinity briefly. The Cheraw, also known as Saraw, Sara, or Saura, were found in what is not South Carolina by De Soto in 1540 and by Pardo in 1566. John Lederer in 1670 found them along the Yadkin River, but by 1700 they had settled on the south side of the Dan River west of the Caswell County area. In their wanderings, however, they undoubtedly followed the course of the river this far east, but by 1710, because of attachs by Iroquois enemies, they had departed and were living along the Pee Dee River to the south. But the Saura Indians were not forgotten; the court minutes of Caswell County for April 20, 1785, refer to land in the county "below the Sorrow Town road."

Even less is known of the Sissipahaw Indians whose name is perpetuated in the Haw River. They were found by Pardo to be living along the Santee River, but Lawson 135 years later heard of their settlement just west of the route he was following through the Piedmont. Lawson, however, did not see this tribe and it was suggested by later observers that they may have been affiliated with the Shackori. it seens clear that the Sissipahaw left the region in company with other small tribes and eventually joined forces with the Catawba.

Evidence of Indian activity is abundant in many parts of Caswell County. Bits of pottery, arrowheads, birds points, and other stone objects have been found in widely scattered areas, and in many fields, freshly plowed each spring, a pocketful of artifacts may be picked up in a brief time. About three miles northwest of Yanceyville on a small tributary of Moon's Creek there is a natural formation identified as "The Indian Rock" and traditionally said to have been used as a fortress by the Indians. The entrance to this small cave faces the branch just fifteen feet away. From the security of this spot projectiles could be fired at an approaching enemy. Nearby countless arrowheads have been found as well as stone blades and scrapers, and an occasional round stone such as would have been used in the games described by Lederer and Lawson.

The dating of Indian presence at a particular site has never been very precise, but in recent years more sophisticated methods have been developed. The Carbon-14 process is perhaps accurate to within several hundred years. An axe unearthed a few years ago at West Yanceyville by David Hopkins, Soil Conservationist, has been described as a Guilford axe. Sites occupied at this same period have been excavaated along the Roanoke River, and one of these has been tentatively dated as prior to 3500 B.C. Other sites in Piedmont North Carolina have been dated: (1) 5000 B>C>; (2( 2000 B.C.; (3) the beginning of the Christian Era; (4) 500 A.D.; and (5) 1700 A.D.

It seems evident that the native Indian quietly withdrew from the Caswell County area when white men began to appear.

North Carolina Museum of History

13th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration
Saturday, November 22
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Celebrate North Carolina’s American Indian heritage at this exciting festival! The Museum of History and Bicentennial Plaza will overflow with music, dancing, storytelling, hands-on activities, and food.

Come to the museum and help commemorate American Indian Heritage month and the museum’s 13th annual American Indian Heritage Celebration! See artists demonstrate their skills at pottery, basketry, beadwork, stone carving, and other crafts. Watch dancers perform traditional dances to the rhythms of northern- and southern-style drum groups. Make crafts, plays games, and listen to stories and legends presented by Indian storytellers. Learn about members of the eight state-recognized tribes: Coharie, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Band of Saponi, Sappony, and Waccamaw-Siouan. It’s fun for the entire family!

To learn more, visit: