Waccamaw Siouan Tribe

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Waccamaw Siouan History

The first written mention of the Waccamaw Siouan appeared in historical records of 1712 when a special effort was made to persuade the tribe along with the Cape Fears to join James Moore’s expedition against the Tuscarora. It is believed that the Waccon Indian, the Siouan tribe which Lawson placed a few miles to the south of the lower or hostile Tuscarora, ceased to exist by the name Waccon but that they moved southward as a group and became the Waccamaw Indians. Tribal names were often changed or altered, especially by the whites in their spellings, and the Waccamaw appeared first in historical records at about the same time the Waccons disappeared. The Waccamaw, then known as the Waccommassus, were located one hundred miles northeast of Charleston, South Carolina. In 1749, a war broke out between the Waccamaw and the State of South Carolina. Twenty nine years later, in May 1778, provision was made by the Council of South Carolina to render them protection. After the Waccamaw and South Carolina war the Waccamaw sought refuge in the swamplands of North Carolina. The present home of the Waccamaw Siouan, is situated on the edge of the Green swamp about thirty-seven miles west of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Lawson and Lederer early explorers of the Carolinas, mention the existence of the Waccamaw Siouan whom they reported were part of the Eastern Sioux Nation but never visited their forbidden swampland refuge. Though, the language is now lost, certain conclusions can be drawn from the knowledge of the Catawba language. A game played by the Catawba Indian Children is spelled Wap-ka-hare. This almost unpronounceable name is translated as "ball knock." To hear an Indian say it, it sounds "Wahumwar." It is reasonable to believe the Waccamaw is an English translation of a part of the phrase that told of the ball of fire that knocked into the earth and created the lake known today as Lake Waccamaw. The natural conclusion, substantiated by these theories, is that the Waccamaw are the "People of the Falling Star."

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