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Because It Is Right by Stanley Knick

As the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River the Lumbee’s are still struggling for federal recognition. The have been recognized by the state since 1885. Congress recognized them in 1956 and terminated them with the same act. In an attempt to explain why the Lumbee’s should be recognized, Stanley Knick uses anthropology and history to support his argument. Archaeological evidence such as Clovis points dates the presence of Native Americans in Robeson county back as far as Paleo-Indian times. Woodland artifacts date Indian occupation to between AD 1200 and 1750. Archaeology also shows that there have been a variety of cultural influences for more than 100 years disputing the argument against Lumbee recognition due to the assertion mixture of Siouan, Algonkian, and Iroquoian people. The historical-genealogical record and archaeological record overlaps.

Other Native populations moved into the area between the time of the Lost Colony (1580’s) and the Civil war (1860’s). The Lumbee word’s origins are ambiguous; the name was accepted in 1956 by the government.  The first written document of the word was in 1888 by Hamilton Macmillian referencing the Lumbee River. In the 1880’s Lumbee elders sited the word. Angus McLean sited the word in reference to it the Indians along the Lumbee River speaking broken English. Many people died at the site referenced to as the Lost Colony. Language changed as tribes came together and their culture did also. Medicine practices were passed down to children such as the use of sassafras. Kinship importance is evident from the frequency of questions in the tribe like “who are your people?” Knick credits the existence of the Lumbee people with the coalescence of the Lumbee with other tribes.

The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians

Chapter 1

Marvin T. Smith outlines the population movements influenced by push and pull factors. The push of disease forced people to migrate. Smith is uncertain of the frequency of the epidemics.   Political factionalism sometimes pushed tribes to separate and/or relocate to newly unoccupied areas. Conflict in the disputes between kinship groups was hard to resolve in instances such as clan or lineage vengeance.  European settlement and trade pulled tribes to trading areas. The Creeks relocated closer toward European trade but this may be due to the Spaniards burning their homes. Favorable environmental zones for fishing, planting and natural fords attracted Indians while the deserted lands were filled by other tribes. The Iroquois conquered tribes to the west of them leading to the movement of people into the western Great Lakes Region and the movement of those people into the plains. Delgado documented movements due to warfare. Indian elites moved their people closer to Spaniards to increase their power. Interior native’s attraction to coastal missions resulted in their voluntary movement.  Cultural similarities also pulled people together. Native groups often meshed with those speaking a similar language. In early Jamestown slavery was not important due to the economic instability and lack of a slave market. Slavery depopulated areas and made them attractive for settlement. Smith uses a series of maps to support the push pull factors referenced in the beginning of the Chapter.

Chapter 2

Paul Kelton describes the Smallpox Epidemic in his essay The Great Southeastern Smallpox Epidemic, 1696-1700: The Region’s First Major Epidemic. Smallpox often struck entire villages and spread beyond the point of contact with Europeans. It spread through the Southeast between 1696 and 1700 meriting the title the Great Southeastern Smallpox Epidemic. The slave trade and other trade accelerated the spread of smallpox. The long incubation period and the ability to live without a host also contributed greatly to the spread of Smallpox in contract to acute infectious disease such as typhus and measles etc. There is a small possibility that smallpox arrived by direct contact with Europeans due to their party being men when the disease struck European children.  It is likely that the disease was spread via cloth such as blankets. The buffer zones of the social landscape of the Southeast may have made it hard for smallpox viruses to spread. Smallpox was spread from Virginia to North Carolina.

Chapter 4

Helen C. Rountree accounts for some of the Virginian exploration of North Carolina. Jamestown colony sent people in search of the “Lost Colony.” Trade and war with tribes made for a way for Powhatan to become powerful. Tobacco cultivation and fur trade were ways get wealthy. The absence of the thereat of the middle man and small-scale private trading would eliminate Indian unrest and therefore it would not be recorded by the English.  Virginia stopped trade with northern Indians because they felt threatened. After 1650 there was a hiring of Indians in which Englishmen were required to have a license to handle. Francis Hamond received a license to go and take up lands. The English pressured Indian parents to allow their children to be raised on English farms the “proper way.” Trouble between Virginia English and Tuscarora’s broke out in 1663 and the grand assembly required Indians to have an identifiable badge with them into the English settlements. Trade in Indian child labors peaked in the 1680’s.

Chapter 5

The Mother of Necessity: Carolina, the Creek Indians, and the Making of a New Order in the American Southeast By Steven C. Hahn

In debt with the English and the threat of their kinsmen being enslaved the Creek Indians renewed their alliance with the Spaniards in 1715.  The dependency of the Creek on European trade led to the classification of European trade goods as necessities and furthered their debt to the English. The causes of the Yamasee war of 1715 are still ambiguous; however, it should be noted that each tribe had different motives in the war. It is later referred to as a trade revolt by Hahn. Navigation Acts required that the colonies do business with the British Empire or its dependencies. A 7 year monopoly over the Westo and Cussetoe trade in 1677. The creeks hid traders and pretended to not know where they were warranting torture and great loss at the hand of Matheos. Gun trade strengthened the alliance between certain tribes and the Carolina traders. An entire generation of creek children we raised without knowing life without European trade goods. The progression of Queen Anne’s war leads to the English using Indians for their imperialist purposes. Creeks participated in the Tuscarora war to relieve slave debts. Southern Indians had participated in slavery where prisoners of war were laborers or adopted into the tribe. English speaking Indian slaves escaped Carolina plantations and rumored that the English were going to enslave the Creeks. The 1763 Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War.

Chapter 7

R.P Stephen Davis, Jr describes the cultural landscape in Cultural Landscape of the North Carolina Piedmont. All tribes encountered by Lawson were eastern Siouan with the exception of the Tuscarora. However, this cannot be sustained. There were diverse groups of Indians located in the southern division. The lack of political importance of the Carolina and Virginia Native Tribes resulted in their near extermination before any information was found out about them. The exchange of furs and deerskins moved to the Indian Villages along the Trading Path. Depopulation, Iroquois raiding, fur trade changes, and the Tuscarora, Yamasee and Cheraw wars affected the culture. Davis provides maps in attempt to support and add to his arguments in the essay but notes that they are “vague and sketchy.”


  1. The ambiguity of the name of the Lumbee river and the references to the river as the Lumbee while some insist that it has always been the Lumber river raises the question of what the river was first recorded as on maps?
    1. Sources: Maps of Robeson and North Carolina

                                i.      Map of Robeson County: made from actual surveys by

                                        John McDuffie

                                         Published: Lumberton, N.C. : W.W. McDiarmid, 1884]  

                                          (N[ew] Y[ork] : Photo-lith. by Robert A. Welck[s]

** Note not sure how to cite maps correctly.**

  1. Herbal remedies are cited to have been passed down for generations in the Lumbee tribe. Are these practices still passed down? Have any of the remedies been documented or purely passed along by word of mouth? What are some of the herbal remedies that exist to day in the Lumbee community?
    1. Sources: Rosalind Sampson of Fairmont. Spoke to students at Lumberton Senior High School about Native herbal remedies.

One Response to “Kasey Oxendine #1”

  1. sherri stork

    i was looking on the internet and found this page. my mother, celia hunt,1917,2002, was a lumbee indian. she always spoke of her grandmother, harriet oxendine hunt as a medicine woman and a school teacher. her grandmother cured with herbs which she collected,,,one i remember well was tansi. this was used for cramps. my mom knew this from her gram. also, my mom always said our people were originally from the roanoke. she was proud that she went to an all indian school. she was proud about being indian. another thing i never heard anyone talk about is how the older indians ate with their hands, using few implements.

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