Honors Pirates on the Pamlico

Tim_RunyanIt was a dark and stormy 15th of June!  But fifty students newly admitted to the East Carolina University Honors College, boarded the 72-foot schooner Jeanie B at Washington, NC for a cruise down the Pamlico River. The first band sailed in the morning in fair conditions. On return they were treated to lunch with the second group of sailors at On the Waterfront restaurant, hosted by owner and Pirate alum Billy Dunn.

The Jeanie B has two masts, a blue hull, white sails, and is a floating educational platform. Students serve as crew, raising and lowering sails, commanding the helm and handling lines. Most climbed the ratlines to reach the top of the main mast. Instructions for the landlubbers are provided by Captain Paul Del Rio and Mate Charles, also a licensed captain. Students busied themselves trimming sail, tacking ship due to blustery weather, while the afternoon crew heaved to and enjoyed a swim on calmer waters.

The students signed up for this event from across the state and beyond, as part of the kick off events that bring incoming Honors college students together before fall classes begin. The day before, they participated in the first Honors College orientation day. The Jeanie B has become the adopted “official vessel” of the Honors College. Students find her an ideal place to help smooth the transition to ECU so that when classes begin they can “hit the decks running.”  What better introduction to the Pirate Nation. Arrgghh!!

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A Reflection on the Nooherooka 300 Commemoration

Lyndsey_SweetThe events of March 21-23, 1713 on a plowed Carolina field should still be remembered today, three hundred years later. The problem began when the colonists settled in the Americas. The colonists invaded the land the natives had lived on for many years. One of the main causes of the Tuscarora War was “colonists who would not allow them to hunt near their plantations, and under that pretense took away from their game, arms, and ammunition.”[1] The colonists did not understand that the natives did not know they were not allowed to be on the colonists’ land, and as a result, hostile feelings rose between the two groups. The colonists continued to expand, depleting the land where the Tuscarora hunted and lived. This caused the beginning of the war in September 1711. There was conflict off and on for the next few years, but the Tuscarora were desperately trying to hold onto their homeland. It is important to note that there were also internal conflicts between the Tuscarora Indians. The northern Tuscarora did not feel the impacts of the invading colonists and wanted to keep up with their successful fur trade with Virginia. As a result, they did not want to fight.[2] On March 23, 1713 West of present day Snow Hill, NC in Greene County, their struggle was brought to an end.

North Carolinians asked for help from both Virginia and South Carolina. Virginia did not have much interest in North Carolina’s problems, and it thus did not send any troops. They turned to South Carolina, who saw profit in helping North Carolina. If they captured the Indians, they could sell them as slaves.[3] With help from South Carolina, the North Carolinians launched their last attack of the Tuscarora War. Colonel James Moore of South Carolina led 900 Indians and 33 white colonists into Fort Nooherooka. There the Indians killed, scalped, sold into slavery, or buried alive at least 900 Tuscarora Indians. By March 23, 1713 the battle and the war was over. The survivors migrated northward, to upstate New York.[4] This battle was significant because it was Indians fighting Indians, and it was the last Tuscarora stronghold in North Carolina.

The events of March 21-23, 1713 should be remembered in North Carolina, and specifically in Eastern North Carolina in Pitt and Greene Counties because this battle took place on the land where we live. The Tuscarora people lived on the land where we work and go to school. Studying and commemorating the events of the Battle at Fort Nooherooka, and the related Tuscarora history can give insight on the way many Indians felt during the time period. All over North Carolina and the colonies, Indians were being confined to smaller pieces of land, but did not know what that meant, which caused the resulting wars. These Indian wars are often looked over by our society today, but had the Indians prevailed, we may not be going to school or living in this area.

In the three hundred year commemoration in March 2013, several events were held to commemorate the battle, as well as teach to Americans about the Tuscarora Nation then and today. There is an exhibition in East Carolina University’s Joyner Library. This exhibit attempts to tell the story from the time the colonists settled in the New World, through the Indian Wars, specifically the Battle at Fort Nooherooka, and ending with the Tuscarora Nation in New York today. The exhibition has the potential to give an audience a view of what the times were like both before and during the Indian Wars.

A website was created for general information about the Tuscarora tragedy and the commemoration. There are specific topics on the website such as artifacts found on the archeological dig, information about the exhibit, the Tuscarora story, and other specific topics. One key feature of this website is the videos that were created when four Tuscarora delegates came to North Carolina. They are asked a variety of questions about their lives, their traditions, struggles, and views that are related to the Tuscarora Nation today. These videos will give the audience a look into the lives of the Tuscarora Nation.

During the commemoration, there was a series of lectures, dealing with different topics and aspects of the Tuscarora Nation. There are lectures on the tragedy, their current homeland in New York, their language, and the repatriation process, among many others. These lectures allow the general public to learn more about specific aspects of the Tuscarora Indians, both past and present.

During the first day of lectures, East Carolina was presented with a wampum belt. This was an immense honor because the last time the Tuscarora Nation presented a wampum belt was to George Washington. The belt was presented during a wampum ceremony. Wampum belts represent treaties and tell stories through the design. The treaty is read into the belt and each chief and clan mother held the wampum belt before it was presented to the Provost. The belt represents the appreciation shown by the Tuscarora nation to East Carolina for putting this event and commemoration on, as well as to accept the apology for what happened to their people.

On the last day of the commemoration, a monument was dedicated near the Nooherooka Fort site. The monument is in remembrance of the Tuscarora men, women, and children, who lost their lives, were held captive, or forced to move from their homeland, during the battle. It is important to have something on the site where the main battle took place because it is a reminder of the sacrifice those Indians made so we can live, work, and go to school on the land where they once hunted and lived.

The last part of the commemoration, which I believe speaks the most about the events of March 1713, is the migration walk. Members of the Tuscarora Nation walked and currently are walking from the fort site back to their reservation in New York. This migration represents the walk that the remaining Tuscarora survivors made after the battle at Fort Nooherooka. They will return to the reservation June 1, 2013.

The story of the Tuscarora Nations is largely unknown, even in the present areas where they lived three hundred years ago. It is important for the public to understand this specific tragedy, as well as many others like it across the colonies. To be a part of this event was a great honor. I appreciate all the hard work by ECU faculty, staff, and fellow students, as well as the Tuscarora Nation. The events that took place on March 21-23, 1713 are among some of the most important in Native American and North Carolina history.


[1] Elizabeth Fenn, The Way we Lived in North Carolina, (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 53.

[2] Ibid., 55.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 58.

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One Month Down, A Lifetime of Pirate Pride To Go

After spending a month at ECU, I can truly say that I bleed purple and gold.  There is such a sense of community and school spirit here! Even though it’s only been a month, I feel really close to many of my fellow Honors College classmates. It’s great to be surrounded by so many people who have the same drive and work ethic as me, yet are super friendly and fun to be around.  After living in the same hall together for a month, showing up for the same Honors College events, and spending time in our Honors Leadership Colloquium together, we’ve really gotten to know each other in a relatively short amount of time. These people are now some of my closest friends—we go to lunch together, walk to class together, hang out in each other’s dorms, and go to the football games together.

Speaking of the football games, nothing will give you a stronger sense of Pirate Pride than attending one of ECU’s football games. When you stand in the student section in a sea of purple and gold, and everyone is chanting the same cheers at the top of their lungs, you can tell that we really love our school.  The atmosphere is indescribable and something you can only understand if you go and experience it. I’ve also made a lot of friends during the football games.  At the first game, I only knew the small group of people that I came with. By the third home game of the season, I knew everyone around me and we were all cheering and having a blast together! It’s funny how a big school like ECU is able to have a small-community feel.

I think that the Honors College has truly helped me to transition into college life. The Honors College faculty is helpful and supportive, and they care about what Honors College students want and need out of their college experience personally, socially, and academically. The first month of college—although a lot of fun—was very stressful.  I had to get used to living away from my family, moving into a small dorm room with a stranger, juggling my rigorous academic schedule, and figuring out exactly where I belong at ECU.  I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but the Honors College has helped ease the process by helping me bond with the other honors students (we went sailing the very first weekend!), providing me with volunteer and internship opportunities, and offering information sessions. For example, next week they’re holding a meeting at the Mamie Jenkins building so that Honors freshmen can talk about registering for classes with upperclassmen Honors students.

My newfound support among the Honors College has allowed me to confidently pursue new things at ECU. I’ve always loved writing, so I took a chance a couple of weeks ago by submitting one of my short stories to ECU’s Rebel Magazine and ended up winning 1st place in their fiction category! Although I’ve never danced, I spontaneously decided to go tango dancing in Mendenhall, and I’ve never played volleyball, but I decided to join an intramural volleyball team just for fun! Some of these experiences turn out really well, and some don’t turn out as well as planned, but I’ve learned that college is all about trying new things, making mistakes, and figuring yourself out.  And at the end of the day, I have a network of Pirate friends with whom I can celebrate my victories and with whom I can shake off my mistakes.

I could go on and on about all of the reasons why I love ECU, but the best part about college so far is the feeling that I’m making friends that I’ll have for a lifetime. ECU is the total college experience—it has challenged me academically, socially, and personally, but now I have close friends that are growing with me and helping me every step of the way.

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The Right Decision

Becoming an Honors student at ECU is sincerely the best decision I have made in my life thus far. I literally wake up every morning knowing that I made the right decision, and that is a great feeling to wake up to! When deciding on colleges, I was stuck in between UNC-Chapel Hill and the Honors College at ECU. Being from Chapel Hill, it was a really hard choice to make: do I want to stay closer to my family who I am really close to and go to a great school, or do I want to move away, accept a four-year scholarship and have a shot at going to the best nursing school in the state? There was a lot of pressure from almost everyone I met to go to UNC. It has long been regarded as the top public university in the state of North Carolina and it is known for an outstanding quality of education. ECU was offering me unbelievable opportunities at the same time and when I came to ECU for the Honors College Preview Day, I left with no doubts—ECU was the place for me.

Being an Honors student at ECU means so many unique things. It means having tuition paid for a full four years, and who couldn’t use that help? College is crazy expensive. It means living in Garrett Hall–the best dorm on campus because it’s close to the gym, library, academic buildings, and most importantly of course, the dining hall! I describe the Honors College in this way to everyone who asks me about college: it’s like a sorority without all the bad stuff. We get to know each other really well because we live together and participate in service projects as well as other events that are just for fun, and have grown to know each other so well in these short two and a half months we have been here. It’s like living with a bunch of brothers and sisters I have already laughed with, cried with, taken care of, and given advice to. It’s an amazing bond I trust will last forever.

The thing that stands out most about being an Honors Student at ECU is the personalized education. I have classes with only 10 other students in them because I get to take honors classes as an Honors Student. I get to take a class all about leadership and service. I stand out to all of my professors because they see how hard I work as an Honors student. I get to check books out for a whole semester and I get to run over to the Mamie Jenkins building at 9:45 and print out a paper for the next day for free. I can email any one of the faculty members of the Honors College and know I will be sitting in their office the next day working out whatever issue I have. I’m not a number; I’m a student that will succeed because I am surrounded by support.

I know that many high school seniors will be in the same boat I was in less than a year ago. Don’t be scared! Don’t be scared to move away and become more independent. I see my family all the time, but now I have my own life at ECU as well. Don’t be scared to do what people least expect when it comes to choosing colleges. Don’t be scared to be proud of your choice. Most of all don’t be scared to listen to you. Be brave, be daring. You will receive an outstanding and challenging education here at ECU and in the Honors College—I know I am. GO PIRATES!!

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EC Scholars Visit Washington, DC

My name is Mary Stuart Sanderson and I am a second-year EC Scholar. The opportunities that have been available to me through the Honors College thus far have been nothing short of amazing. However, my one of my favorite “perks” of being an Honors College student is the trips that are funded for our enjoyment. Groups have gone to colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, the Outer Banks, and even the Queen Anne’s Revenge conservation lab.

EC Scholars also have two trips they get to look forward to enjoying during their time at ECU. The first trip is during their sophomore year to the wonderful city of Washington, DC. The second trip is during their senior year where locations may vary depending on the year and group of students. As an EC Scholar in my second year, I had the privilege of going to Washington, DC for my 2012 Spring Break trip.

My fellow EC Scholars and I enjoyed so many different things while in DC. We met some really amazing people, saw some pretty remarkable sights, and ate some extremely incredible food! One of my favorite parts of the trip was the private tour of the Pentagon that was given to us by Pirate Alumni, Tom Shubert. It was so interesting to see the inner workings of the Pentagon and the overwhelmingly reverent scenery of 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. It was an experience that I will never forget. After showing us around the Pentagon, Mr. Shubert took us to lunch at the Army-Navy Club. I felt honored to sit around a table and talk with the very people that help to defend our great nation.

Another Pirate Alumni, Dr. Roger Sharpe, gave us a tour of the Capitol. He even gave us passes into the Senate and House of Representatives Galleries. I was extremely humbled by this kind and unexpected gesture. That same day, we had lunch with representatives from Nucor (the largest steel production company in the United States). This presentation gave us a break from tours, history, and government. It was a refreshing change of pace that was just an added bonus to the trip.


My fellow EC Scholars and I shared many other experiences together during that 4-day trip. We went to a variety of different art and history museums, as well as the Patent and Trademark Office. But, one of the best parts of the trip was the exploring we did around Georgetown. The shopping was wonderful and the food was divine! And, for the first time ever, I got to taste a TV-worthy cupcake. A few of us snuck off for a sweet treat at Georgetown Cupcakes, (this is the location where the TLC show DC Cupcakes is filmed). Word from the wise: Get the red velvet cupcake! It’s their most popular for a reason! From delectable cupcakes, to personal tours, to meeting fellow Pirates (and enjoying some of the perks of their successes), the DC trip was an experience that I will not soon forget and will always be grateful for the Honors College for providing me with such an opportunity.

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