The Chowanoke Indians -- By Duvonya Chavis

The December article focused on the sale of the reservation and the loss of the last 30 acres owned by the Chowanoke. Undeniably, after the 30 acres that was held communally by the Chowanoke was lost through mishap in 1821, it was a sad period of time for the Chowanoke. While they understood territorial boundaries, the Chowanoke could not understand why the settlers would want to  marginalize their communal way of living on the land and the settlers certainly did not understand why traditional communal landholding was so important to American Indians. American Indians
revered land in much the same way they revered the air that is breathed. Even today, the respect for care of the earth remains top priority for American Indians across the United States.

Interestingly, most people assumed after the sale of the Chowanoke Reservation in the late 1700’s that the Chowanoke Indians were no longer Indian. However, Chowanoke Indians moved into surrounding communities to maintain a semblance of community self- governance.

Stunned, many Chowanoke questioned intrusion in the sale of the reservation. Many persisted, in spite of racial reclassification on county records, to maintain their Chowanoke Indian heritage. Still others moved to neighboring states or into other local Indian communities to maintain a cultural cohesion, as assimilation was being perceived or occurred.

Yet many locals today wonder just who the Chowanoke Indians that remain within the Northeastern NC communities are. Few realize that many families living today can establish bloodlines to the Chowanoke Chief men who were named in the land conveyances. There are also those who are able to establish blood ties to those who were living communally on the last 30 acres.

Family names such as the Robbins, Beasleys, Hoyters, Bennetts, and many others live on in descendants who remember their ancestry and who identify as Indian. In spite of it all, the Chowanoke people remain after all.
The Chowanoke Indians -- By Duvonya Chavis The Chowanoke Indians -- By Duvonya Chavis Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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