Cheraw Indians – Native Americans in SC

South Carolina SC Native Americans SC Indian Tribes SC Cheraw Indians

Name, Language – Cheraw Indians

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

Current Status – Cheraw Indians

  • Active - Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians received state recognition in 2012

Contact Information – Cheraw Indians

  • Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians - state recognized tribe
    5700 Oak Hill Road
    Sumter, SC 29154
    Phone: 803-494-5442

SC Location, Territory – Cheraw Indians

  • 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 – Cheraw Indians

Population Estimates – Cheraw Indians

  • 1600: 1200
  • 1765: 50-60

History – Cheraw Indians

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

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

  • 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.

  • In 1934, the Leland Grove School was constructed in Little Rock, South Carolina. It educated about 50 Lumbee children each year from Dillon and Marlboro counties. A Lumbee named James K. Brayboy served as the school's principal, teacher, bus driver, and custodian from the time the school opened until it closed in 1970. (Source: Mark Locklear, James K Braboy, Leland Grove School Honored with Historical Marker)

    Leland Grove School - Dillon County, South Carolina
    — Leland Grove School • National Register of Historic Places

Clothing – Cheraw Indians

  • 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

Dwellings – Cheraw Indians

  • 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

Food – Cheraw Indians

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

Beliefs and Practices – Cheraw Indians

  • 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 Institution Press, 1984, pp. 76-77.

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