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Exploring the Indigenous South: Contemporary Tribes Near South Carolina

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.

Contemporary Tribes Near South Carolina

Learn more about current Tribes near South Carolina. Not all Tribes have yet been included; more information will be added in the future.


This page is broken into the following categories:

Lumbee Indians of North Carolina

Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina SealThe Lumbee Indians are one of the largest groups living in North Carolina, and their history has been more extensively documented than many other SC Tribes. Their struggles to gain federal and state recognition are instructive for researching and building relationships with SC Tribes who face their own issues in documenting their history and proving themselves “legitimate” or “authentic” Native people. Such recognition has both symbolic and practical value, since it makes Tribes eligible for resources that enable them to support individuals in their community, to build communal resources for the Tribe, and to share their own stories as they see fit. Some scholarly experts are Lumbee including Adolph Dial and Malinda Maynor Lowery. Another nationally recognized Lumbee Indian is Arlinda Locklear, attorney and C of C graduate who was the first Native American woman to appear before the U. S. Supreme Court. CofC awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2012.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Seal of the Eastern Band of Cherokee IndiansFrom the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians' website, "Located in Cherokee, North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians were once part of a much larger Cherokee Nation population. However, when the Trail of Tears was mandated, and forced removal and relocation were directed by the US government and then President Andrew Jackson, the Cherokee Tribe became divided into what is known today as the Cherokee Nation and United Kituwah Band, located in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band, made up of those who remained and rebuilt within North Carolina’s Qualla Boundary (sometimes called the Cherokee Indian Reservation)."