November is Native American Heritage Month. The State Library would like to take this time to honor the first inhabitants of North Carolina.

Native American heritage in North Carolina, as well as the country as a whole, has very deep roots. Before the first Europeans arrived, North Carolina was inhabited by three major Native American language groups: Iroquoian tribes in the north, the Siouan tribes in the piedmont, and the Algonquian tribes in the tidewater region.

Currently, North Carolina has the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi River.There are eight state recognized tribes in North Carolina: the Cherokee, Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Bands of the Saponi, Sappony and the Waccamaw Siouan Indian Tribes.

Today, the Native American influence can be found in some of the foods we eat, the arts, jewelry, clothing and the names of cities, towns and rivers in North Carolina. Please join the State Library as we celebrate the heritage of North Carolina's first inhabitants.

back to top History and Reference

  • Native Languages of the Americas
    A website dedicated to the survival of Native American languages, which contains materials about indigenous languages of the Western Hemisphere.

back to topGenealogy

  • Cherokee Genealogy
    Find out if you qualify for enrollment in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Contact information including research materials, available in the Qualla Boundary Public LIbrary.
  • TNGenWeb Project: Cherokee by Blood
    The original Cherokee Nation in the east covered a large area including western North Carolina. These webpages outline the many steps to follow and records and records to search in proving or disproving Native American ancestry.
  • Government and Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina
    The library has an extensive genealogy collection which contains census records, various electronic databases, and vast microfilm collections including records of the Eastern Cherokees.
  • US Department of the Interior
    Includes general information on genealogical research and where individuals can can look for appropriate information to support their efforts, section on cherokee Indian Ancestry and downloadable Guide to Tracing Your Indian Ancestry.


back to top Arts and Culture

  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian
    Museum dedicated to perpetuating the history and culture of the Cherokee people by showcasing exhibits, maintaining archives and presenting educational programming.
  • UNC-Pembroke, Museum of the Native American Resource Center
    Provides education about the prehistory, history, culture, art and contemporary issues of Native americans with special emphasis on Robeson County.
  • Frisco Native American Museum
    Non-profit educational foundation created for the purpose of preserving Native American artifacts, art and culture.
  • North Carolina Historic Sites -Town Creek Indian Mound
    NC archeological historic site which explores the culture of the Pee Dee Indians who inhabited Town Creek.
  • Lost Colony
    Website which provides information about the theatrical production based on the history of the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
    Museum committed to advancing the knowledge an understanding of Native American cultures by providing outreach and education and maintaining a collection of artifacts and archives.


back to topTribes

back to topOrganizations

American Indian Organizations holding membership on the NC Commission of Indian Affairs

back to top Additional Resources

  • North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs
    The NCIA was created in 1971 to address the concerns of the state's Native American population. The commission advocates for and promotes programming, assists with social and economic developments and protects the rights of the community.
  • UNC-Chapel Hill -American Indian Center
    A campus-wide center designed to create an environment in which quality research, scholarship and engagement related to American Indians is strengthened, nurtured and coordinated.
  • National Archives -Native American Records
    The National Archives holds information about the Native Americans who maintained their ties to federally-recognized tribes(1830-1970). Most records are arranged by tribes.
  • Algonquian Indians of North Carolina
    A private non-profit corporation designed to preserve the past, present and future history of the people of Dare County and Hyde County and the adjacent sandy islands.
  • Southern Band Tuscarora
    An organization dedicated to providing information for and about the Tuscarora people. The website includes a brief history of the people, news and a calendar of events.
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
    The North Carolina Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association is dedicated to document all routes and sites associated with the Trail of Tears in the state and to work with the National Park Service to insure inclusion of the Cherokee homeland in the National Historic Trail.
  • Coastal Carolina Indian Center
    An organization dedicated to preserving the history, culture and traditions of the Indians of the coastal North Carolina.
  • American Indian Chamber of Commerce of North Carolina
    Non-profit organization that was created to promote the growth and success of existing and new American Indian-owned businesses in North Carolina to improve the economic well being of all American Indians employed by them.

back to topDemographics

back to topResources for Youth

  • Oyate
    The mission of Oyate is to ensure that written accounts, fiction and non-fiction, of Native American lives and histories are authentically portrayed. Oyate's work includes critical evaluation of books and curricula with Indian themes. The site contains recommend books about Native people and a list of books about Native peoples to avoid.
  • Native Tech: Native Technology and Art
    An internet resource for indigenous ethno-technology focusing on the arts of the Eastern Woodland Indian Peoples, providing historical and contemporary background with instructional how-to's & references. Great interactive games and recipes!
  • Learn about Native American Cultures
    Clickable US map with information about the Native Americans of each region.

back to topSpotlight


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back to topImage Credits

Arts and Culture: NC Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and Development, 2005. State of North Carolina.

Native American Indians in North Carolina: Image courtesy of NC ECHO