By Britney Taylor
The Standard Laconic
Monday, March 25, 2013
SNOW HILL — The Tuscarora nation of the Tuscarora Reservation in New York’s Niagara County united with the Tuscarora people of North Carolina on Saturday for the first time in 300 years for the dedication of a monument at the Nooherooka Fort battle site. Hundreds of Tuscarora and other spectators gathered at the site for the monument’s dedication.
Snow Hill resident George Mewborn owns the site, where hundreds of Tuscarora were slain in battle defending their homeland. Mewborn, along with the Greene County Museum and East Carolina University, sought to honor the Tuscarora people for the 300th anniversary with a Tuscarora Heritage Day commemoration. The event featured a special exhibit at the Greene County Museum followed by the dedication of the monument and a “walk home,” where the Tuscarora nation walked into Snow Hill, returning home after 300 years in exile.
Members of the Tuscarora nation also blessed the monument site with ceremonial songs and the watering of a tree.
Dreamweaver of the Tuscarora nation scattered tobacco seeds that belonged to his ancestors along the monument’s perimeter. The plant is the Tuscarora’s most sacred and most medicinal plant, and the seeds will bring peace to the site, he said.
“Our ancestors predicted that within seven generations we would have a resurrection of our nation,” Dreamweaver said. “We see this as our resurrection. A new world is beginning now. We see people becoming more spiritual.”
The monument was dedicated by East Carolina University Provost Marylin Shearer and history professor Larry Tise, along with Mewborn and Sharon Ginn, director of the Greene County Museum.
Mewborn awarded Ginn a symbolic deed, granting the museum stewardship of the monument.
“Since the birth of the Greene County Museum 10 years ago, one of our goals has been to somehow honor the heritage of the Tuscarora people,” Ginn said. “We begin that today. Welcome home.”
Dan Richter, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and renowned author specializing in the culture of Native American peoples, attended the dedication ceremony. He described the experience as an “extraordinarily moving moment in history,” recognizing one of the “darkest and ugliest chapters.”
“I hope that this moment will begin a healing from the carnage, bloodshed and horror that occurred here,” he said.
The monument symbolizes not only the tragic battle, but also the unity of the Tuscarora people and the non-Indian people in North Carolina and the sacred traditions of the Tuscarora people, according to the artists Hanna and Jodi Jubran.
The Jubrans are ECU affiliates who have been creating monumental art works for 17 years, including Century of Flight in Kitty Hawk, the ECU Pirate and the Three Bronze Figures at the Kinston Community Council for the Arts.
The Nooherooka monument was designed collaboratively by the couple, the Greene County Museum and the Tuscarora nation and was completed just 24 hours before the dedication.
“The spirit world helped us complete the monument on time,” Jodi Jubran said. “I am proud to be a part of this project and to make this monument. It was a good combination of people to work with.”
The Tuscarora have been fighting to hold their territory since they left the area, even as late as the 1960s, Henry said. After the monument’s dedication, Henry said he finally felt as if his people can “live in peace” with non-Indian people.
“I appreciate seeing what our people have fought for,” he said.
Henry, along with North Carolina Tuscarora chiefs Cecil Hunt and Leon Locklear, led their tribes through the archway of the monument to symbolize a new beginning for the Tuscarora people.
The Standard Laconic is published weekly covering Greene County.
via The Daily Reflector.