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NEWS | Nov. 6, 2020

Recognizing National American Indian Heritage Month

By Staff Sgt. David Brogden 628th Security Forces Squadron

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Native American Heritage Month is designed to celebrate and recognize all the accomplishments of those who were apart of the original inhabitants, explorers, and settlers of the United States.

In November 1986, congress requested President Ronald Reagan issue Presidential Proclamation 5577 proclaiming the week of November 23-30, 1986 be designated as “American Indian Week”. In 1990 congress passed another authorization asking President George H. W. Bush to designate the month of November as “National American Indian Heritage Month”.

The Low Country of South Carolina is well known for its dated history back to slavery and the Civil War Era. Many may be unaware that there is a local Native American Indian tribe located directly here in the Low Country. The Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe of South Carolina.

The history of Edisto Natchez-Kusso tribe can be traced back to the early 1670s. As one of the First Five, the tribe welcomed European settlers to the area.

The Edisto Natchez-Kusso tribe were granted land located near the Edisto River around the early 1700s. Soon after, the tribe went to war with the French, once in 1720 and again in 1729. The war in 1729 saw the tribe being ran out as they sought refuge with the Cherokee Indians of North Carolina.  

Years later, the group sought protection from the English in 1734. Soon after, the Governor of South Carolina granted the tribe land near the Edisto River.

Ancestors of the tribe moved to this reservation, settled in different communities known as “Creel Town” and “Four Holes,” and adopted the Edisto name as many people referred to them as the Edisto Indians.

After Dorchester County was established, it split these communities in half, moving some members scattered among both Berkeley and Charleston County.

Native American Heritage Month allows all citizens to reflect while raising awareness to Native American culture and history.

Those visiting the Charleston area may only come here for the historic sites that date back to slavery, but what they may not know is the role the Edisto Natchez-Kusso Tribe played as European settlers began to explore what is now the United States of America.  

The Edisto Natchez-Kusso tribe is still active as they work toward achieving federal recognition.