Ch. 2, Sec. 2
The First Carolinians:
Native American
Groups of North
Identify and describe American
Indians who inhabited the
regions that became Carolina
and assess their impact on the
The First North Carolinians
People have lived in North Carolina for
several thousand years. The first of these
native peoples lived as nomadic hunters
and gatherers.
Many artifacts or relics and objects of their
existence have been left behind for
archaeologists to study and examine.
By 1492, there were an estimated 35,000
Native Americans living in the state and
well over 34 different groups are known to
have existed.
These Native Americans depended on
whatever nature or the land offered in order
to survive.
The five major groups of North Carolina
• Hatteras
• Chowan
• Tuscarora
• Catawba
• Cherokee
The Hatteras Indians
• Once occupied the
sandbanks in the vicinity of
Cape Lookout.
• The survivors of the Lost
Colony may have been
incorporated into this tribe.
• The Hatteras/Roanoke
Indians were the first to
come into contact with the
Europeans and the first to
decline in numbers.
• By 1700, only 16 fighting
men were to be counted with
a total population of 80.
Chowan Indians
• The Chowan were once a
large and powerful tribe in
the Albemarle region in the
1600’s, but by 1707, they had
only one town left with 15
warriors. This loss of life
and identity was because of
interaction with the
European colonists, disease,
and war.
• In 1733, with only a handful
of original members left,
they were assimilated into
the Tuscarora.
The Tuscarora
The Tuscarora were a part of the Iroquoian Nation and were fierce and
aggressive, unlike the weaker coastal tribes.
Around 1700, there were approximately 1200 warriors and over 5000 in
the tribe. They lived in the piedmont and inner coastal-plain.
The Tuscarora War of 1711 broke their power and control in North
Carolina. Many of the survivors of the tribe fled northward into New
York where they joined their cousins, the Iroquois. Later on during
the Revolutionary War, many Tuscarora fought against the British.
Chief Pelers of the Tuscarora Tribe
The Catawba Indians
At one time, the Catawba were
the largest and most important
tribe in the entire piedmont
region of the state.
They lived along the banks of
the Catawba River and were
largely farmers.
The Catawba were friendly to
the white settlers and were the
arch enemies of the Cherokee
nation. During the American
Revolution, several Catawba
Warriors served with distinction
in the American army in pivotal
battles such as Guilford
Courthouse in 1781.
In the late 1700’s and early
1800’s, the tribe suffered
significant decline from
diseases and warfare.
By 1944, only 280 full-blooded
Catawba Indians were living.
As of 2006, less than 3,000
Catawbas remain, the majority
of which live in South Carolina.
The Catawba were once well-known throughout
North Carolina for their pottery and hand-made
The Cherokee
The Cherokee
Sequoyah (above) invented the
Cherokee writing system. He never
learned to read, speak, or write the
English language.
• Cherokee civilization may be
as old or older than the
Greek and Roman
• Part of the Iroquois, the
Cherokee have always
inhabited the mountain
regions of the southeast.
• At one time, the Cherokee
numbered over 25,000.
Today, there is an estimated
270,000 federally enrolled
• The Cherokee battled
fiercely against white
settlers and sided with the
British during the
Revolutionary War.
• Little by little, the Cherokee
lost their ancient territory as
the years progressed.
•The word “Cherokee” means, “Those
who live in the mountains.”
•One of the most shameful episodes in
American History occurred when the
Cherokee Indians were rounded up by the
United States government in the 1830’s
and forced to relocate west of the
Mississippi River in what is today
•This movement became known as, “The
Trail of Tears.” This was due largely to
gold being found on their ancestral lands
and also because of the expanding white
•Thousands of men, women, and children
died on the journey.
•During the War Between the States,
several thousand Cherokee served
gallantly in the Confederate Army with an
outstanding battle record.
•Today, the Cherokee Nation continues to
expand and grow.
Famous Cherokee
The owner of the
Tennessee Titans
Will Rogers
Jimi Hendrix
Johnny Depp
Burt Reynolds
Wes Studi
The Impact of the Invasion of Europeans on
North Carolina’s Native Americans
• Severe depopulation through disease and
• Migration from ancestral lands and removal
to reservations.
• Radical alterations of Native American
culture and customs.
• Complete assimilation into white European
1. ______________ are relics and objects left from the past.
2. From WEST to EAST, list the five major Indian groups of North Carolina.
3. List the four major effects of European interaction upon Native Americans.
4. Name the first Indian group that met European setters in the late 1500’s.
5. Which Cherokee invented the tribe’s writing system and alphabet?
6. Cherokee means ________________.
7. The forced removal of thousands of Cherokee from their ancestral homes is
called _________________.

Native Americans