Strangers in Their Own Land: South Carolina's State Indian Tribesby S. Pony Hill
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Harsh "racial" segregation during the Jim Crow era prevented South Carolina's Indians from assimilating. Due to their three-fold genetic admixture, they were labeled with such fanciful names as "Red Bones," "Brass Ankles," "Croatans," "Turks," and "not real Indians at all." For generations, South Carolina's remaining Indians struggled to avoid reduction to the oppressed social status of "Negroes." Their desperation eventually fostered anti-Black sentiment within some of the groups, an affliction that still infects a few of the older community members.
Generations have passed since the Jim Crow era. Today, the Palmetto State's Indians focus less on imagined "racial purity" and more on the welfare of their communities, preserving their customs, and honoring their ancient traditions.
Much work remains to be done by and for all of the tribal groups of South Carolina. The tribes strive to convert state recognition, which now serves only as a morale booster, into a true vehicle to promote tribal educational, economic, and healthcare improvement. South Carolina's state-recognized tribes are now hard at work to accomplish this goal.
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Meet the Author
S.Pony Hill was born in Jackson County, Florida. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from Keiser University, Dean's List, Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society member. He was previously a contract researcher for federal recognition grants under Administration for Native Americans and for members of the United Ketowah Band, Cherokee Nation and Sumter Band of Cheraw, specializing in Southeastern Indian documentation. He is the author of Patriot Chiefs and Loyal Braves available online. Mr. Hill currently lives in San Antonio, Texas.
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