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Exploring the Indigenous South: About this Guide

This guide is intended for anyone interested in the experiences and cultural traditions of Indigenous people living in the region now known as the southeastern United States.

Land and Labor Acknowledgement

We would like to acknowledge that we are located on the traditional lands of the First People of Charleston -the Etiwan, the Kiawah, the Edisto Natchez-Kusso, the Santee, and the Wassamasaw, also known as Varnertown Indians. We acknowledge and honor all of the indigenous peoples who lived, labored, and were faithful stewards of the land. We express our deep gratitude for the land and the continued faithful stewardship to the next seven generations. 

We also acknowledge the lives and labor of the Africans who were enslaved to build Charleston, SC. On the College of Charleston campus, African and African descended people used skilled labor in ornamental iron work, historic architecture, and low country agriculture and food production. We acknowledge the Black lives and labor that built our city and campus.

On This Guide

The resources on this guide are by no means exhaustive. Currently, it provides resources that are available in the following topics:

Scope and Purpose

This guide is intended for anyone interested in the experiences and cultural traditions of Indigenous people living in the region now known as the southeastern United States. Indigenous peoples, who have always been intertwined with the history of the U. S. South, continue to live in South Carolina and the surrounding region, though many outsiders know little about them and may assume they no longer live here. As a starting point for exploration of Indigenous people's experiences, we've curated this collection of introductory materials as well as more focused, in-depth resources to deepen your knowledge.

This guide was inspired by a Southern Studies capstone project by Jenna Chalhoub ‘22. We wish to thank Sarah Creel ’22, also a member of the Edisto Natchez-Kusso tribe, for her enthusiasm and generosity in sharing her knowledge with Jenna. Program director Julia Eichelberger used this work as a starting point for an annotated bibliography focused on Indigenous experiences in the U. S. South, with a special focus on South Carolina.

The guide also reflects the contributions of Chris Boucher, Rich Bodek, Tamara Butler, Brennan Keegan, Cathy Nelson, Charissa Owens, Jared Seay, Annette Watson, and Kris De Welde. We thank Cathy Nelson, Edisto Natchez-Kusso tribal member and community leader, who has been gracious enough to review this project. We look forward to continuing collaborations with Ms. Nelson and other SC tribal members as we continue to update and develop this resource. We also thank the Office of Institutional Diversity for facilitating an ongoing conversation with these leaders. 

The project has been transformed into a LibGuide by Elena Rodriguez in consultation with Julia Eichelberger. If you have suggestions for updates and additions to this guide, please contact or

Where to Begin?

If you know very little about the Indigenous South, you’re not alone! Good introductory resources include “Indian Eras” in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, “American Indian Survival in South Carolina,” by Theda Purdue, and the podcast “The First Peoples of the South Carolina Lowcountry.” To get a sense of the other resources available, including materials created by tribal members, browse this guide and click on the annotations we’ve provided.

Nicholson, Francis. Map of the several nations of Indians to the Northwest of South Carolina. [S.l.: s.n, 1724] Map.


College of Charleston. (2021, October 15)). Solar Pavilion Unveiling Shines Light on Enslaved, Indigenous People [Video still]. YouTube.