Last modified: 2010-11-06 by rick wyatt
Keywords: southern band tuscarora indian tribe | tuscarora | north carolina | native american |
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image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Southern Band Tuscarora Indian Tribe - North Carolina
When the average person hears the name Tuscarora, he or she thinks of one of the Six Nations comprising the Iroquois Confederacy, the Haudenosone of New York State, and Canada. The Tuscarora became the newest member of the Five Nations 280 years ago when they migrated north from their traditional homeland in what is today's North Carolina. When the Tuscarora ventured north, not everyone joined the journey. Those who clung to their traditional home now exist as the Southern Band of Tuscarora based in Windsor, Bertie County, NC. Other band members are descendants of those who returned from the north to their original homeland.
The Southern Tuscarora have established their own Tribal government, following By-Laws based on those of the Clans that make up the Tribe. The Tribal leader is the Head Sachem, Mud Turtle Clan Chief Edward Koona Haagw Livingston; the Grand Council is made up of six Clan Representatives - three Clan Mothers and three Clan Chiefs. Among the nearly 300 members of the Southern Band Tuscarora Tribe, representatives can be found from the Bear, Mud Turtle, Wolf, Snipe, Deer, Sand Turtle and Eel Clans.
© Donald Healy 2008
Since the Southern Band Tuscarora Tribe predates the merger of the northern Tuscarora into the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, they do not employ the Iroquois flag nor follow the Digahnahweda - Great Peace Law of the Six Nations. Rather, the Southern Band of Tuscarora use a flag divided diagonally white over red. The red starts at the upper left and terminates at the lower right. In the center of this field is the seal of the Southern Band Tuscarora, shown in black.
The seal of the Southern Band Tuscarora is circular and features a Longhouse in the center. Above it is a traditional Tuscaroran Chief's headdress, called the Gustoweh, while below it is a grove of five pine trees. To the left of the Longhouse is depicted a clump of hemp bushes while to the right, and entering through the Eastern door of the Longhouse, is a Tuscaroran man paddling a canoe. In the center of the seal, and the center of the Longhouse is a fire held in place by a ring of rocks. Holding all this together is an inner ring bearing "Southern Band Tuscarora Indian Tribe" and featuring a sun, moon and star. An outer ring is marked with an Iroquois pottery design of six slashes.
According to the Bear Clanmother Marilyn Dreamwalker Mejorado-Livingston, the seal can be interpreted as follows:
On our seal the skuarureaka, pronounced sca-ru-re-ah-ga, the hemp gatherers are in the West, the katenuaka, pronounced ga-te-no-wah-ga, the people of the submerged pine are in the South, the akawenteaka, pronounced ag-wan-te-ga, the people of the water are in the East, and the Gustoweh-the Chief's headdress is in the North - the place where the elders gather, and of wisdom.The seal has been reproduced in many forms. It is black on the flag, but has also been recreated in full color with black lettering and has been constructed out of wampum shells, an item closely associated with the Iroquois, but used by most of the Native Tribes along the Atlantic coast.
The Longhouse is in the center where we lived. The fire of our Great Nation burns in the center of the Longhouse, we come in the Eastern door. We are Traditionalist and follow the Longhouse customs. (We) are guided by the sun, moon and stars as reflected in the inner circle, the circle of life. The outer circle is the Iroquoian pottery design, which is 6 slashes, one for each direction, North, South, East, West, one for the Creator above, and one for our Mother Earth or Turtle Island. Our Tribe's Traditional medicine colors are red/black/white."