CHIEF THOMAS "TWO FEATHERS" LEWIS
( Dancer with Red Crooked Sky / Actor Cast in the "New World" Film)
The Meherrin-Chowanoke Nation is a Native American Indian Tribe that descends from both the Meherrin, and the Chowanoke Indians granted reservation lands in the Parker's Ferry area of Hertford, and Gates counties in North Carolina. These same lands were at various points, occupied by both tribes. Our tribal base counties consist of Gates, Hertford, Perquimans, Chowan, Pasquatank, and Bertie.
This sub-group is first described in 1781 by Thomas Jefferson who wrote the book "Notes on the State of Virginia". In Chapter 11, Jefferson states, " The Powhatan Confederacy then would consist of about 8,000 inhabitants, which was one for every square mile: being about twentieth part of our present population in the same territory, and in the hundredth of that of the British islands. Besides these, were the Nottoways, living on the Nottoway river, the Meherrins and Tuteloes on the Meherrin river, who were connected with the Indians of Carolina, probably the Chowanocs."
Although the Meherrin are considered to be Iroquoian, and the Chowanoke Algonquin, the remnants of both groups, due to proximity, forged land and family bonds. Those bonds continue to exist today. As a great portion of our tribe descends from families of the historical Meherrin Tribe of Nick Major, Mister Thomas, and Tut-sech Basqueat. In addition to being direct lineal descendants of known Chowanoke Chief men, John Robbins, James Bennett, Thomas Hiter (Hoyter), and John Reading.
The Meherrin and Chowanoke people, since the reservational periods, formed communities in Hertford and Gates Counties with their own churches and schools. With Pleasant Plains Church, and an Indian school in Sarum, Gates County being among them. The people collectively incorporated certain lifestyles of the encroaching settlers in an effort to survive, such as owning land, and farming amongst their non-native neighbors. And we are still here today. The Meherrin-Chowanoke people are a Nation that derived from 2 Historic Tribes, the Meherrin, and the Chowanoke.
The Meherrin-Chowanoke are one of the very few, non-federally recognized Indian Tribes in the United States, whose members are direct descendants of a "collective" group of specific persons documented in governmental records identified as a tribe. This includes governmental accounts, tribal references, tribal land sales, and court records. It should also be noted that the tribe is currently pursuing, or as we prefer to say, "formally" re-establishing our Nation to Nation relationship with the Federal Government.
We have had a long and "known" history in State Indian Affairs, and have forged many bonds and relationships. We have survived many obstacles to remain in existence today. Due to our continued research, the sake of our children, and an acknowledgement of our history, we are, The Meherrin-Chowanoke Nation.
A partial list of the Meherrin-Chowanoke Nation's core surnames are : Robbins, Hoyter (Hiter), Beasley, Bennett, Hunter, Reid, Weaver, Butler, Hall, Flood, Eure, Cross, Boone, Bowser, Manley, Greene, and Smith. Additional surnames are Pugh, Pierce, Chavis, Lewis, James, Nickens, Collins, and Melton.
**** Simply having one of these surnames does not mean that an individual is of Meherrin-Chowanoke descendant************
Councilman Douglas Patterson traveled to the southwest to meet the Chairman of the Federally Recognized Paiute Tribe.
OCCANEECHI BAND OF SAPONI PROJECT DIRECTOR FOREST HAZEL
Forest Hazel, the Project Director and Historian for the Occaneechi Band of Saponi Nation recently gave a presentation on the Chowanoke Indians of Gates County North Carolina for the University of North Carolina in Pembroke. It was an excellent presentation that was well received. We would also like to thank Mr. Hazel for his letter of support. Thank You!!
*** On a side note, we would also like to thank Wes Taukchiray(White) for his letter of support as well.. There cannot possibly be anyone in North Carolina that is not familiar with his work and his reputation among Indian People.***
THE MEHERRIN-CHOWANOKE NATION ARE SCHEDULED TO
PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNOR CHARLES EDEN SYMPOSIUM ON
MAY 18, 2013 AS PART OF A CULTURAL CELEBRATION*
PEARL MEANS DID A VERY TOUCHING TRIBUTE TO THE LATE ACTOR, ARTIST, AND INDIAN ACTIVIST RUSSEL MEANS AT THE 14TH ANNUAL NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS.
CHIEF THOMAS LEWIS
One of the highest honors given by the State for Native Americans is to be granted the privilege of blessing the grounds of the arena at the State's Native American Heritage Festival. This year, the honor was bestowed to Chief Thomas Lewis of the Meherrin-Chowanoke Nation.
TRIBAL CHAIRMAN DR. AARON WINSTON AND CHIEF THOMAS LEWIS
2013 North Carolina Indian Unity Conference
ADDITIONAL MEHERRIN-CHOWANOKE PARTICIPATION
IN THIS YEARS NC AMERICAN INDIAN
UPCOMING MEHERRIN-CHOWANOKE POW WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WORDS FROM THE LONGHOUSE
The Meherrin-Chowanoke PowWow began on Friday October 26 with great fan fare. We had one of our largest and most successful school days ever. Don Upchurch from WRCS radio station in Ahoskie, NC, presented the crowds with a history of the Chowanoke people. The Meherrin-Chowanoke descend from a merger of the historic Meherrin and Chowanoke tribes.
The Chowanoke people that exist today descend from the two remnant groups that survived and became landowners in small communities in Gates and Hertford counties. The ancestors of the Chowanoke descendants are the only people in Hertford and Gates counties that were documented as Indians in governmental and court records from their initial appearance into the history books, unto well into the late 1820's. Our tribal members are direct descendants of those Indians still residing in the same areas. Our history and genealogies can be traced directly from several Chowanoke Chief Indian men selling tracts of land in the 1700's until the present day.
Both groups have always existed historically. One can actually look other variant names of Indian groups in NC as examples of subgroups that derive from other historic tribes. The people and their descendants still exist. In actuality, most current tribal names derived from the encroaching English speaking settlers, are not what most tribes actually called themselves.
History is full of references such as “last of the Mohicans, last of the Nottoways, etc.” However the descendants of those people continue to thrive today.
Our Pow Wow is an example of how that persistence, and determination. Our Pow Wow was stated by many who were there as being one of warmth and filled with good spirits. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended and celebrated with us. It was simply unfortunate that inclement weather prevented the last two days of the Pow Wow, but we plan to hold a special event for the community sometime this spring.
We exist as we always have and as we always will. We cannot and will not be written away. Currently there is only one federally recognized tribe in the state of NC. We are vigorously engaged in the process of joining that rank.
We greatly appreciate the support that the city of Ahoskie and the County extended in helping us during the planning of our event. They went above and beyond our expectations and we are grateful. In addition, special thanks to everyone from the venders, to the dancers, and attendees like Vershenia Moody who is running for District County Judge, and all those whom the weather prevented from attending.
THANK YOU ALL !!!!
MEHERRIN-CHOWANOKE NATION SCHOOL DAY OCTOBER 26, 2012
OUR NATION IS GOVERNED BY A CHIEF AND A SEVEN MEMBER COUNCIL
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