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A response to ‘Setting the record straight’

Published 11:06am Tuesday, November 6, 2012

To the Editor:

The Meherrin-Chowanoke Nation scheduled their annual PowWow at the Ahoskie Amphitheatre on October 26-28. We did not need endorsement from any group in order to hold that which has been a part of our tradition and culture within the community for over 24 years.

Our name reflects the evolution of tribal history in our area which archeological studies performed by ECU’s faculty substantiated years ago.  In addition, the Chowanoke Indians are the ONLY Indians in this area who can trace historical documentation in government or court records to the early 1800’s and whose descendants remain today. A newspaper article written in the late 1950’s based solely on family folklore and later reprinted and prefaced as such in a book is not historical documentation.

The Chowanokes lived on the Parker’s Ferry reservation site for over 900 years until they moved to another reservation site. They continued to exist communally and even formed their own schools in the area. The Meherrins later migrated to the same Parker’s Ferry reservation site and lived there for only about 70 years until they too disseminated in the community. Historical records noting any Meherrin descendants cannot be found.

Due to the racial climate against Indians during the 1800’s and later, most tribes along the eastern shores disbanded and began to employ survival tactics. While the two tribes did not exist in the 1700’s as one tribal entity, once the groups disbanded, they became neighbors, intermarried and forged bonds. Again, archeological research proves this.  One having both Chowanoke and Iroquoian bloodlines should not be confused with tribal membership as we are born Native American.  Most state recognized tribes in North Carolina incorporate historical names to reflect changes which occurred since the 1700’s. Likewise most federally recognized tribes do not use their original historic names, but a variant of it.

Strife is counterproductive. My mother, along with other Meherrin-Chowanokes, worked hard for years to win state recognition for the Meherrin Indian Tribe. They won, yet the tribe endured much as a result. We did not expect 30 years of the same treatment that had been rendered from outside of the Native community to have been rendered within. We wish the best for Wayne Brown and his tribe.  However, our goal is to move forward and to direct our energies for benevolence within the community.

Duvonya Chavis

President, Roanoke Chowan Native American Association, Inc.

Meherrin-Chowanoke Tribal Member

Winton

  1. lion king25

    TO NATIVE all I have to say to you is, read the courts transcripts if you interested in knowing the facts about this court case. the judge made his decision based on the law. PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE AT FAULT FOR THIS GOING TO COURT IN THE FIRST PLACE. YOU EVIDENTLY GUILTY LIKE LEWIS GROUP. YOU FULL OF LIES AND DECEIT. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. PEOPLE LIKE YOU PRETEND TO BE ON ONE SIDE, YET SPY FOR THE OTHER. IT WAS CONTROL FOR YOU AND OTHERS,THAT IS WHY YOU HATE. YOU TRYING TO BE FUNNY MAKING THE STATEMENT THAT THE BROWNS TOOK THE TRIBE TO COURT TO GAIN CONTROL. I AM SICK OF ALL THE LIES AND DECEITFULNESS OF YOU PEOPLE. YOU WILL GO DOWN AND YOU WILL PAY YOUR DUES TO THE ALL MIGHTY. YOUR DAY OF RECKONING WILL COME. TO OTHERS: THE TRUTH CAME OUT IN COURT. TRUTH AND JUSTICE PREVAILED

    Suggest Removal

  2. native

    Correct!

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  3. confused2012

    A tribe “refers to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship”

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  4. native

    Actually Concerned makes a valid point. It is sad that selfishness, egos, ignorance, pride, etc has prevailed to cause a group of people to say enough is enough and to depart. I will say however that had key issues been dealt with in the tribe 30-35 years ago, we may not have ended up in court. Fact is The Meherrin Chowanokes were never initiators of strife or contention. The Brown’s took the tribe to court to gain control. For over 30 years, they caused strife in the tribe to the point where many members left and would have little involvement due to the strife. This family has been pacified for years. Now they have total control of the state recognized name, land, other material assets. So why not be happy and leave well enough alone. No one is bothering them…dont keep on making false accusations against the Meherrin-Chowanokes. No one has posted slanderous accusations against them and the one and only article ever written by them in response to Wayne’s article is viewed as harrassment? By the way….what is the definition of a tribe?

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  5. lion king25

    to concerned: There are no two tribes involved in this matter. There is only one state recognized tribe in n.c. The meherrin/chowanoke is not a tribe. Do you have any idea as to what is going on? Do your research before speaking on matters.

    Suggest Removal

  6. concerned

    Dear Hyeagle, Ms. Chavis, All Meherrins:
    NO ONE CARES BUT YOU!
    In 25-30 years because of the way you two are behaving all of you will be irrelevant. This is so sad.

    Suggest Removal

  7. hyeagle

    The Chavis woman is probably angry about the recent decision of the N.C. Superior Court and the “rain out” of her group’s Pow-Wow and has led her to toss arrows at the Meherrin Indian tribe. She was a member of this tribe for many years until she joined a Rogue or splinter group from the Meherrin tribe to form an organization called the Meherrin-Chowanoke “Nation”. She evidently wants the Public to believe that this new organization is the Meherrin tribe with a new name. That is why she and her group claim the PowWow to be their 24th. But we know it’s their first. She is all mixed up and confused.

    She states that there are no Meherrin descendants in Hertford County. Why then do they name their group Meherrin-Chowanoke?? Again, she is confused and angry. Her statements concerning the Meherrin in Hertford County reveal her ignorance and lack of knowledge of the Meherrin people in this great state of NC. She also states that her mother played a large role in the NC State recognition of the Meherrin tribe. This is also false.She contributed nothing and this is another indication of her angry confused thinking. This group woman needs help and badly.

    The public should know that the company that she states she is the president of…the Roanoke Chowan Native American Association, Inc…is listed as a Construction/Residential company located at 200 west Jordan st.in Winton. She is no researcher or Historian of Native American descendants. Her company name is misleading.

    Since she and the entire Chavis Family indicated that they were descendants of the Cherokee tribe when they were allowed membership in the Meherrin tribe many years ago, it is somewhat interesting that they now claim to be descendants of the colonial and extinct Chowan tribe or as they prefer to be called…”Chowanokes”.

    Suggest Removal

  8. lion king25

    chavis woman sounds like she has a grudge against the meherrin tribe. there is no meherrin/chowanoke tribe. she and her group needs to move on and stop downing the people who is trying to move forward with the tribe. it is unfortunate her group continues to cause havoc in the native american community. she should be proud of where she came from.

    Suggest Removal

  9. concerned

    Trust me, NOBODY CARES, except you Indians. And the way all of you are squabbling, bickering and fighting among yourselves that 25 years from now neither tribe will be in existence because after your youth see how childish both sides have acted they will not be willing to put forth the effort to carry on the traditions. Both sides are engaging in mutually assured self destruction. It’s so unfortunate because you two, collectively have a rich culture that can continue to be a positive influence in our community. It’s a darn shame you can’t put aside egos and resolve your differences for the survival of your entire tribe.

    Suggest Removal

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