American Indian Affairs (AIA)

North Carolina's State - Recognized Tribes


The Coharie people are descendants of the Neusiok Indians. Since the 1970's the tribe has lived along the Little Coharie River in Sampson and Harnett Counties. In the 1800's 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.

   Eastern Band of Cherokee

In 1838 the United States government made the Cherokee people leave their homelands. The forced march of the Cherokee to Oklahoma became known as the Trail of Tears. A small group of Cherokee who were allowed to remain in the North Carolina mountains became the Eastern Band of Cherokee. The Qualla Boundary reservation, where much of the tribe now lives, was chartered in 1889.


The Haliwa-Saponi people are descendants of the Saponi, Tuscarora, Occaneechi, Tutelo, and Nansemond Indians. In the 1700's 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 that time. Today, the school building houses the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Charter School.


The Lumbee is the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River and the ninth-largest tribe in the country. They descended from the Cheraw and related Siouan-speaking groups. The name Lumbee, adopted in 1952 was derived from the Lumber River, which flows through Robeson County. The tribe lives in Robeson, Hoke, Scotland, and Cumberland Counties, where it has a strong presence in local government and the community.


Written history of the Meherrin, which means "people of the muddy water," dates back to 1650. Tribal enemies and conflicts with colonists forced them form Virginia to Hertford County. Today, the tribe also lives in Bertie and Gates Counties. Meherrin tribal members have renewed interest in their traditional arts, crafts, and culture.


The Occaneechi community is descended from the Saponi and related Indians who occupied the Piedmont of North Carolina and Virginia the in Pre-contact period. Under the 1713 treaty with the Colony of Virginia, the communities of Saponi, Occaneechi, Eno, Tutelo, and Cheraw, among others, agreed to form a confederation. Today, the tribe lives primarily in Alamnace and Orange Counties.


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


The first written record of the Waccmaw-Siouan people appeared in 1712. The tribe, then known as the Woccon, lived near Charleston, South Carolina. After fighting a war with South Carolina, the Waccamaw-Siouan retreated to the swampland of North Carolina. Today, the tribe lives near Lake Waccamaw, in Columbus and Bladen Counties.

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update August 25, 2013 10:22 PM

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