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An Introduction to Resources on the History of Native Americans in North Carolina

A Bibliography of Sources Available in the North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
North Carolina Collection call numbers follow each citation.


William S. Powell, North Carolina : The Story of a Special Kind of Place. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1987. pp. 27-44.
C970 P88n1

Thomas C. Parramore and Douglas C. Wilms, North Carolina: The History of an American State. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1983. pp. 44-60.
C970 P25n

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Teaching about North Carolina American Indians. [A "curriculum guide...designed for K-12 teachers to inform and enhance teaching related to North Carolina's America Indian tribes."]


Thomas J. Blumer, Bibliography of the Catawba. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1987.
C016.97003 B65b

H.G. Jones, North Carolina History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.
CR016.97 J77n

This extensive bibliography contains sections entitled "Prehistory and Archaeology"(pp.17-20) and "First Americans, From Then Until Now" (pp. 21-37).

Britt Long, Appalachian State University, Native Americans of the Southeast: A Bibliography, Spring 1997.

North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs. "American Indians of North Carolina and the Southeast: Suggested Reading".

Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Siouan Project – Selected Bibliography.

Primarily archaeological works.

Sampson-Livermore Library, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Selected Bibliography, Indians of North Carolina. [December 2001].


Early accounts of Native Americans in North Carolina.

James Adair, History of the American Indians. First printed in London, 1775. NCC has editions published in 1930, 1974, and 2005.
C970.01 A19a

"An account of their origin, language, manners, religious and civil customs, laws, form of government, punishments, conduct in War and domestic life, their habits, diets, agriculture, manufactures, diseases and method of cure, and other particulars . . .." Adair observed the Indians' tribal distinctions and gave accounts of the different tribes he encountered. He noted that "most of the pages were written among our old friendly Chikkasah," but the Catawba, Cherokee, Muscogee, and Choctaw tribes are also discussed. Despite a long and dubious section entitled "Proof of the American Indians' being descended from the Jews," this book provides many helpful observations.

Thomas Hariot, Description of Travels to the colony of Virginia. 1588. Companion volume with The True Pictures and Fashions of the People in that Parte of America Now Called Virginia . . . ." collected and drawn by John White, cut in copper and first published by Theodore de Bry.
FC970.1 H28b.3
Available online through Documenting the American South at http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/hariot/menu.html

Some scholars have cited this book as the first writing in English on the subject of North America. Hariot relates his experiences in the colony of Virginia (of which present-day North Carolina was then a part). Most of the narrative consists of his descriptions "Of the nature and manners of the people." He discusses the appearance, food, clothes, towns, and language of the native Virginians. Hariot makes an interesting observation when he writes, "Nowe only so farre foorth, as that you may know, how that they in respect of troubling our inhabiting and planting, are not to be feared; but that they shall have cause both to feare and love us, that shall inhabite with them." The illustrations by John White have been reprinted many times since the original publication.

John Lawson, A New Voyage to Carolina. First printed in London, 1709.
C970.2 L42.5
Available online through Documenting the American South at http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/lawson/menu.html

Contains a "Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel'd thro' several nations of INDIANS. Giving a particular Account of their Customs, Manners, &c." This well-written, engaging account consists primarily of Lawson's descriptions and observations of Native American physical characteristics ("the Indians of North-America are a well-shap'd clean-made People, of different Staturies as, as the Europeans are, yet chiefly inclined to be tall."), games, dances, food, cooking, traditions, religions, medicine, and some attempts to write down their language. Some space is also given to accounts of the interaction between the natives and the English traders. The North Carolina Collection holds a facsimile of the original edition and a more recent edition.

John Lederer, The Discoveries of John Lederer, In Three Several Marches from Virginia, To the West of Carolina, and Other Parts of the Continent. First printed in London, 1672.
C917 L47.4

This 1966 facsimile of the original edition contains brief accounts of each of the author's expeditions in which he expounds upon the customs, trade, and towns of the Native Americans he encounters. These are very short descriptions, but useful in that they show how impressions had evolved since the writings of Hariot. Another edition (1958), containing modern type and spelling and with additional information on Lederer, is available (C917 L47.2).

Kim Sloan, A New World: England's First View of America. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
C970.1 S634n

Beautiful reproductions of the famous British Museum collection of drawings and paintings made by John White, "who in 1585 accompanied a group of English settlers sent by Sir Walter Raleigh to found a colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina." Includes detailed depictions of the indiginous people of the area as well as Roanoke environs. This volume also includes essays on White and the historical background of his visit.

Reference Books and General Accounts of Native Americans in North Carolina

William L. Byrd, III. For So Long as Sun and Moon Endure: Indian Records From the North Carolina General Assembly and Other Sources. Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2006.
C970.01 B959f

This volume offers transcripts of official records pertaining to American Indian peoples in North Carolina. Sections cover Tuscarora records, General Assembly sessions, the Governor's office, and North Carolina laws.

Richard Haithcock, comp., North Carolina Indian Census, Vol. 3. [Beavercreek, Ohio : R.L. Haithcock, 2007.]
C970.03 H154n

Produced on behalf of the 2006 Southeastern Native American Conference. The first part of work is entitled "The History of the Saura/Cheraw and Neighboring Tribes of the Catawba Confederacy." The work also includes selected data from the 1900 US Federal Census and North Carolina county-level census information. Includes historical and genealogical information on Saponi, Tutelo, Catawba, and Monacan Indians.

Christopher Arris Oakley. Keeping the Circle: American Indian Identity in Eastern North Carolina, 1885-2004. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 2005.
C970.03 O11k

"Keeping the Circle presents an overview of the modern history and identity of the Native peoples in twentieth-century North Carolina, including the Lumbees, the Tuscaroras, the Waccamaw Sioux, the Occaneechis, the Meherrins, the Haliwa-Saponis, and the Coharies." Oakley uses archival research and oral histories to explore questions of Native American identity in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Theda Perdue, Native Carolinians. Raleigh: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1985. 73 pp.
C970.01 P43n

This popular history from the North Carolina Division of Archives and History contains introductory chapters on the early history and archaeology of Native Americans in North Carolina, and a discussion of Indian-White relations. Perdue includes short histories of the Cherokee and Lumbee Indians and a section on “Native Carolinians Today.” A “Timeline of Important Dates in North Carolina Indian History” is added as an appendix.

Eloise F. Potter and John B. Funderburg, Native Americans: The People and How they Lived. Raleigh: North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences, 1986.
C970.01 P866n

Published "in Honor of the Year of the Native American," this book is written for a younger audience, though it contains information useful for anyone researching Native Americans. There are great color photographs, maps, and illustrations. An interesting chapter discusses tribal government and its influence on what would later become the United States government. A list of "Places to Visit in North Carolina" is included at the end of the book.

Kevin Reynolds, Native North Carolina: The What, Why and Where of Native American Place Names. [Boone, N.C.] : Parkway Publishers, [2010].
C970.01 R463n

A guide to over 150 place names in the state that claim to derive from Native American names or legends.

Douglas L. Rights, The American Indian in North Carolina. Durham: Duke University Press, 1947.
C970.01 R57a

Rights discusses relations between the Native Americans and the Spanish and English settlers and also addresses many of the earlier writings about the Native Americans. A fold-out map of the "Physiographic Regions" of North Carolina is included.

John R. Swanton, The Indians of the Southeastern United States. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1946.
C970.01 S97i

This book, a publication of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology, contains a thorough and detailed look at Native Americans in North Carolina and around the Southeast. It contains a brief description of all of the tribes of the region and a chart containing the classification of tribes. Most of the book is devoted to descriptions of the lifestyle of the Indians, including sections on food, clothing, and language.

Ruth Y. Wetmore, First on the Land: The North Carolina Indians. Winston-Salem, N.C.: John F. Blair, 1975.
C970.01 W54f

Wetmore’s account of Native Carolinians contains a discussion of the early history and pre-history of Native North Americans, a brief account of 17th- and 18th-century Indian wars, and a catalog of both historic and contemporary (ca. 1970s) North Carolina tribes. There are longer sections on the material and social aspects of Native American life, including descriptions of clothing, food, artifacts and weapons, pottery, medicine, and festivals and funerals.

From a Native American perspective

Clarence E. Lowrey, The Invasion of America. Lumberton, NC, 1962.
C970.01 L92i

Lowrey writes, "The history of the Indian nations in the New World is a compilation of horrors almost unequalled in human annals." This short account of Native American history does not mention North Carolina Indians specifically but it does touch on the travels of John White and John Lawson, early explorers who wrote about native North Carolinians.

Paths Toward Freedom : A Biographical History of Blacks and Indians in North Carolina by Blacks and Indians. Raleigh: The Center for Urban Affairs at North Carolina State University, 1976.
CBo P29

The first part of this book contains several short essays on Native American history. These discuss Indian religion, arts and crafts, education, and other aspects of life both historical and contemporary. Other important sections of the book include "Representative Biographical Sketches of Notable Native Americans in North Carolina" (pp. 114-127) and "A Selected Bibliography on Native Americans in North Carolina" (p. 127).


Indians of North Carolina
C970.01 I39 (3 volumes)

These newspaper articles about North Carolina Indians through 1975 have been collected since the 1920s, though some articles may date back farther. These are primarily from North Carolina newspapers. Many of the articles are arranged by tribe. Articles from 1976-1989 are bound in with general subject clippings (CR917 N87). Recent articles (1990 through present) are available at the reference counter.


Publications focusing on history and anthropology, which often feature articles on Native Americans in North Carolina.

Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of North Carolina. vol. 1 - 4, 1934-38.
C970.01 A66b

Nearly all of the articles in this journal discuss Native Americans in North Carolina -- particularly Indian artifacts. Also includes site reports from excavations led by the society.

Southern Indian Studies, vol. 1, 1949 - present.
C970.01 S72

This journal, published once a year by the North Carolina Archaeological Society, contains "information pertaining to the life and customs of the Indians in the Southern states, both prehistoric and historic." It deals largely with archaeological matters -- studies of artifacts and reports on recent excavations. There are, occasionally, some articles that approach the subject from a more historical perspective.

Tar Heel Junior Historian, vol. 1, 1961/62 - present.
C970 T16j

The first story in the first issue of this magazine was entitled "Indians in North Carolina." Tar Heel Junior Historian, published twice a year by the North Carolina Museum of History, contains short, informative articles on North Carolina history and famous North Carolinians. Pieces on Native Americans are often included.

Tips for Further Research

In the UNC Libraries online catalog (http://search.lib.unc.edu/search.jsp?tab=advanced), most materials on Native Carolinians are listed under the following subject headings:


Please note that many of the North Carolina Collection’s holdings are cataloged only in the library’s card catalog. General sources are listed under the subject NORTH CAROLINA – INDIANS, while publications on specific tribes are listed under the name of the tribe. The following tribes are listed separately in the North Carolina Collection’s card catalog:



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