By Katherine Ayers
Thursday, March 21, 2013
A three-day series of events commemorating a battle that is considered a turning point in North Carolina history begins at East Carolina University today.
The Nooherooka 300 event marks the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Nooherooka, where English settlers, with the help of Indian allies, eliminated most of the Tuscarora Indians who lived in eastern North Carolina at the time.
The site of Fort Nooherooka, about 30 miles from the ECU campus near Snow Hill in Greene County, was the subject of an archeological excavation by the university’s anthropology department between 1990 and 2001.
Nooherooka, which means forked field, was built in late 1712 to protect the Tuscaroras’ nearby communities along the Contentnea Creek — including Catechna near Grifton, where North Carolina explorer and author John Lawson was executed by the Tuscarora in 1711.
“When North Carolina started, it was owned by individuals and grants from the (British) king,” ECU history professor Larry Tise said. “These individuals wanted to make money. There was no gold or silver, but there was land.
“And the land was occupied by Indians,” he said.
This battle was the culminating battle of the Tuscarora War which lasted from 1711-13.
Native American leaders, whose civilizations along the creek banks of eastern North Carolina went back thousands of years, felt war was the only option after suffering the gradual encroachment of settlers upon their lands, Tise said. The battle at Fort Nooherooka has been called their “last stand.”
“Of the 900 (Indians) who were in the fort, a good number of them were killed, survivors were taken to Charleston (S.C.) as slaves,” Tise said. “Somewhere between a quarter and a half of the survivors moved out of North Carolina, first to Pennsylvania then to New York.”
Many of those in New York now live on a reservation close to Niagara Falls, according to Tise. The other half did not leave are still living in North Carolina.
According to Tise, about 140 Tuscarora Indians are expected to visit ECU from New York as part of the event.
Members of the Tuscarora delegation will begin their walk back to New York on Saturday morning after the dedication, as a tribute to their ancestors’ migration.
The delegation plans to walk to Snow Hill to join in a community picnic and a lacrosse match between the Tuscarora men’s and ECU club teams. On Sunday, they plan to begin walking more than 600 miles to the Tuscarora Reservation.
A full schedule of events can be found at www.Neyuheruke.org.
Contact Katherine Ayers at email@example.com and 252-329-9567. Follow her on Twitter @KatieAyersGDR.
via The Daily Reflector.