Lumbee American Indians


The Lumbee Indians are named after the Lumbee River, and reside mostly in North Carolina / South Carolina. They were made up of Cheraw Indians (Siouan) and Croatan Indians (Algonquian). The reason tribes merged in early days was that the settlers brought smallpox and other diseases with them, and many tribes lost up to 90% of their members. The remaining survivors had to regroup together with other local indians to rebuild.

Records date back to the 1700s on this group of Indians. Common family names in the Lumbee tribe are Brayboy, Brooks, Carter, Chavis, Cumbo, Locklear, Lowry, Oxendine, and Revels. It's rumored that the lost town of Roanoke actually merged in with the Croatan Indians - they carved the word "Croatoan" on a tree when they left, and didn't leave any other emergency indicators that it had been a raid. The Lumbees did indeed have surnames used that matched those of settlers, and spoke fluent English, even in those early days.

Lost Colony of Roanoke

Because of this early influx of English language and style, most traditional clothing and information was lost. The Lumbee were dressing like "everyone else" by the time people started documenting things. It is assumed they wore beaded headbands with a feather or two, and knee-length skirts (women) or breechcloth (men). Moccassins were common for all Indian footwear. When Scottish immigrants "found" the Lumbee Indians in Robeson County, NC in the 1730s, the Indians already were speaking English and living in English style houses.

Crafts included basketry and wood carvings. Food included deer, turkey, corn, beans, squash - but again the English came in so quickly that soon they were living much as other settlers did.

The Lumbees were very mixed race right from that beginning, and were often not really considered "Indians" when things such as the Trail of Tears occurred. In addition to absorbing the entire Roanoke colony, they also intermarried with blacks and other indians. However, Henry Berry Lowrie was a Lumbee who was furious with the injustices and during the 1860s he beame sort of a "Robin Hood", causing all sorts of mischief and never being caught.

In the mid to late 1800s, I found records saying that the Indians in North Carolina (i.e. the Lumbees) were sent to special schools along with the negros. They were not allowed into the white schools.

By 1910 the Croatans (i.e. Lumbees) didn't like their original name, it was being used as a term of derision in their homelands. They started calling themselve Cherokee. This upset the main Cherokees who felt the tribes were quite distinct. So in 1933 the Lumbees officially adopted the title of Lumbee, from a river in the region.

The Only Land I Know - a book about the Lumbee Indians


From Calvin Locklear:
"I found your research on the Oxendine family line to be quite extensive. I myself am a Lumbee indian and I find the history very intriguing. I heard a story a couple of weeks ago from a friend of mine about the origin of the Oxendines that was quite different from yours. However, I suspect that he didn't research it as much as you did.

He related a story of how the Oxendines originated from a band of gypsys that were roaming in the area of NC where the Lumbees lived and that they were kind of incorporated into the tribe. I am not sure how that story came about but I thought you might find it interesting. Your site is quite comprehensive as far back as it goes. I see myself spending alot of time here. "

Oxendine Genealogy Research - Main Page

Cood Oxendine ~1750
David Oxendine ~1775
Wilson Oxendine ~1818
Elizabeth Oxendine ~1839


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