Published 10:31 am Tuesday, October 3, 2017

WINDSOR – It’s an event showcasing 300 years of existence….Native American style.

The 300th anniversary of the creation of Indian Woods, the Tuscarora’s reservation in Bertie County, will be celebrated during a three-day conference at Historic Hope Plantation, as well as festivities and story-telling at the Blue Jay Recreation Center, beginning Saturday, Oct. 7 through Monday, Oct. 9.

Shown here is Indian Woods in Bertie County, detail from Jonathan Price-John Strother Map of North Carolina, 1808. | Courtesy of Library of Congress

The conference will feature speakers from throughout the eastern United States. Meanwhile, a social at the Blue Jay Recreation Center, sponsored by the Indian Woods Community, will feature a traditional Tuscarora cornbread and corn soup dinner, and demonstrations by members of the Tuscarora tribe from New York.

While there is a registration fee for some events, others are free to the public.

For more information, visit Historic Hope’s website or call 252-794-3140.

Historic Hope officials are estimating a crowd in excess of 100 have already expressed an interest in attending the weekend’s multiple events. Of that number, 25 members of the Tuscarora Tribe now residing in New York will attend, retracing the steps their ancestors took 300 years ago.

The event – billed as Neyuheruke 300 and Beyond – not only celebrates the creation of the Reservation in 1717, it also coincides with the annual Indigenous People’s (Columbus) Day weekend (Oct. 7-9).

Established by treaty between the Tuscarora Nation and the colonial government of North Carolina, the Indian Woods Reservation in Bertie County served as a land base for those Tuscarora who remained in North Carolina following the Tuscarora War of 1711-15.

Three hundred years of Indian Woods features a wide range of scholarly, commemorative, and family activities over the three-day holiday weekend. No place could be more suitable for the conference as Hope Plantation was the home of North Carolina’s governor David Stone, who along with his father Zedekiah served as commissioners for the adjacent Tuscarora Indian Woods Reservation.

The conference goal is to explore the history, archaeology, and cultural life of Indian Woods reservation from its creation in 1717 through 1804 when it was leased to the State of North Carolina; and with further memories of the reservation through the 20th and 21st centuries.

The weekend program is as follows:

Saturday – Oct. 7 at Hope Plantation

8 a.m. – Conference registration at Visitor Center Museum Note: Tours of Hope Plantation buildings are available with registration or by separate ticket purchase; Tuscarora heritage arts demonstrations and vendors available all day.

Conference Session I (Visitor Center Museum)

8:30 a.m. – Chief Leo Henry–Tuscarora Nation

Larry E. Tise, East Carolina University, Welcome and “Searching for Tuscarora’s North Carolina Homeland”

Turner Bond Sutton, President, Historic Hope Foundation

Patrick Suarez, Director, Meherrin Tribe Annual Powwow

9 a.m. –  Troy A. Richardson, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY “Resisting Assimilation; Tuscarora, Saponi and Tutelo Students at William & Mary and Fort Christanna, 1690-1715”

9:30 a.m. – David La Vere, University of North Carolina at Wilmington “King Tom Blount of the Tuscaroras: Skillful Defender and Political Opportunist”

10 a.m. –  Q&A and Discussion of Troy Richardson and La Vere Presentations

10:40 a.m. – Stephen Feeley, McDaniel College, Baltimore, MD “Reservation, Outpost, or Homeland? Indian Woods in the 18th Century”

11:10 a.m. – Buck Woodard, American University, Washington, D.C. “’Take up the Hatchet…and go to War with us’: The Tuscarora of Indian Woods during the French and Indian War”

11:40 a.m. –  Q&A and Discussion of Feeley and Woodard Presentations

10 noon – Lunch (Visitor Center–separate registration required; limited onsite purchase)

12:30 p.m. – Vincent Schiffert, Tuscarora Nation “Paradox of Productivity: Iroquoia Agriculture”

1 p.m. – David Serxner, Historic Hope Plantation “North Carolina’s Two Tuscarora Glengarry Caps: Provenance and Future”

Conference Session II (Visitor Center Museum)

1:45 p.m. – Joshua Irvin, McDaniel College, Baltimore, MD “Ties to Home: Tuscarora Autonomy and the Sale of Indian Woods 1801-1831”

2:15 p.m. – Gerald W. Thomas, U.S. Government Senior Executive (retired) & Author, Laurel, MD “Indian Woods: A Lost Reservation”

2:45 p.m. – E. Thomson Shields, East Carolina University, The Indian Gallows: A Poem,’ by William H. Rhodes (1846): Folk Tradition to Literature, Literature to Folk Tradition in North Carolina”

3:15 p.m. – Q&A and Discussion of Irvin, Thomas, and Shields Presentations

4 p.m. – Warren Milteer, University of South Carolina, “Race and Ancestral Ambiguity in North Carolina: Finding Indigenous People in Bertie County Records”

4:30 p.m. – Marvin “Marty” Richardson, Haliwa-Saponi Legacy Project, “From Indian to Colored: The 1835 North Carolina Constitutional Convention and Its Impact on Meadows Indian Identity and Sovereignty”

5 p.m. – Q&A and Discussion of Milteer and Marty Richardson Presentations

6:30 p.m. – Indian Woods Community Event at Blue Jay Recreation Center, Indian Woods Reservation/Township (sponsored by the Spring Hill, Kings, Indian Woods, Saint Francis, and Beacon Light communities)

Sunday, Oct. 8 – at Hope Plantation

Family Day: Tuscarora Heritage, Memories, and Corn Husking Bee

Tuscarora Heritage Session (Visitor Center; free and open to the public)

10:30 a.m. – Tuscarora Heritage Talks: Tuscarora Historical Society, moderated by Vince Schiffert, Tuscarora Nation

12 noon – Lunch (Visitor Center–box lunch; separate registration; limited onsite purchase)

12:30 p.m. – Arwin Smallwood, North Carolina A & T University, Greensboro, NC “Life at Indian Woods”

Note: *Tours of Hope Plantation buildings available with registration or by separate ticket purchase; Tuscarora heritage arts demonstrations and vendors available all day.

Tuscarora Corn Husking Bee (on the grounds; free and public presentation invited)

2 to 5 p.m. Tuscarora Corn Husking Bee

Traditional Tuscarora Arts & Crafts

Tuscarora Cornbread and Corn Soup Dinner (on grounds; registration or tickets onsite)

6 p.m. – Dinner

7 p.m. Tuscarora Social, Music, and Songs

Monday, Oct. 9

Indigenous People’s Day

Historic Hope Plantation is open all day for visitation and tours by families and individuals. Visits and tours are included in registration for the Indian Woods Conference.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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