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South Carolina

South Carolina – Indians, Native Americans – Cheraw

South Carolina SC Native Americans SC Indian Tribes SC Cheraw Indians

Name, Language

  • Alternate spellings: Charaw, Sara, Saraw, Xuala, Suali
  • Possible meanings:
  • Language family: Siouan

Current Status

  • Active - Group received state recognition in 2012

Contact Information

SC Location, Territory

  • Traditional: Northeastern South Carolina, along the banks of the Great Pee Dee River near the present day town of Cheraw in Chesterfield county

Related Names in SC

Population Estimates

  • 1600: 1200
  • 1765: 50-60


  • Little is known about the Cheraw history prior to encountering the Europeans in 1534.

  • Sometime prior to 1700, the Cheraw left their homelands and settled along the Dan River on the Virginia border temporarily.

  • In 1710, they returned to the Great Pee Dee River area due to attacks by the Iroquois.

  • During 1711, they fought against the Tuscarora alongside the Catawba and the British in the Tuscarora War.

  • From 1715-1716, the Cheraw joined several other Native American tribes to fight against colonists and traders in the Yemassee War.

  • In the 1730s,some Cheraw joined the Catawba, others move into Robeson County, North Carolina and eventually formed the Lumbee tribe.

  • A smallpox epidemic killed many of the remaining independent Cheraw in 1759.

  • The last recorded mention of the Cheraw as a separate tribe was in 1768.


  • Men – Loin cloth made of deerskin
  • Women – Knee-length skirts of deerskin
  • Pants, leggings, and capes made of various animal hides were worn in the winter and for travel by both men and women


  • Homes – Small and round, made of saplings covered with bark and animal skins
  • Villages – Usually formed along a river, consisting of groups of homes and in some cases a ceremonial building and plaza in a central location


  • Farming – Beans, corn, and squash
  • Fishing –
  • Hunting – Various wild game, relied heavily on deer and bear

Beliefs and Practices

  • Due to the fact that many Cheraw merged with the Catawba and others merged with various Siouan speaking tribes to form the Lumbee, little is known about their original culture.

Related Cheraw Indian Resources

  • Bruch, Susan M. "Catawba." Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998, pp. 378-79.
  • Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Instition Press, 1984, pp. 76-77.


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