Meet NC’s eight Indigenous tribes


Photo courtesy of @visitcherokeenc

Table of Contents

In 10+ states — including North Cackalack — the second Monday in October is recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In its honor, we’re bringing you a look at some ways you can celebrate Indigenous folks locally, as well as a way to learn about NC’s 8 recognized Native American tribes.


  • We recommend checking out “A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary & Contemporary Art,” which highlights the indigenous language’s legacy as a form of cultural expression + pride. It’s currently on display at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian through Oct. 31. If you can’t make the ~1 hour drive, the exhibit will also show at the Asheville Art Museum from Nov. 19, 2021- March 14, 2022.
  • There’s also The Basket, the Center for Craft’s Cherokee Basketry Public Art Parklet project. A collabo between the Center for Craft and members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, it will be a nod to Cherokee basketry, as well as the Cherokee language, traditions + culture. DYK downtown Asheville (and much of the area) was built on the ancestral lands of the Anikituwahgi (now known as the Cherokee)? Support the project here.


  • If online is more your speed, check out the North Carolina Museum of History’s 26th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration. Slated for Sat., Nov. 20 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., it offers opportunities to interact with American Indians from NC’s 8 recognized tribes through live presentations + panels. There’s also a slew of educational videos celebrating the history and culture of our American Indian communities.

Scroll on to learn a bit about each of NC’s recognized tribes.


The 2019 PowWow. I Photo courtesy of @visitcherokeenc

Eastern Band of Cherokee

  • Cherokee, NC near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park


  • Harnett + Sampson counties ~1 hour from downtown Raleigh


  • Halifax + Warren counties near Rocky Mount
  • Recognized in NC since 1965 and currently has ~3,800 members, with 80% living within a 6-mile radius of the town of Hollister.


  • Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland + Scotland counties
  • With 55,000+ members — NC’s largest recognized tribe and the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River. Currently seeking federal designations through the Lumbee Recognition Act, which was introduced to Congress in 2019 by Rep. G.K. Butterfield.


  • Hertford County near the Albemarle Sound

Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation

  • Alamance County ~40 minutes from downtown Durham


  • Person County along the Virginia state line

Waccamaw Siouan

  • Columbus + Bladen counties ~45 minutes from Wilmington

Want to learn more? Check out the following resources:

And, be sure to read our piece on Joara and Fort San Juan (a.k.a. both the site of a thriving Indigenous village + the oldest inland European settlement in North America).

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