Like most Native Americans in South Carolina, the Santee have a history of trading with early colonists from Europe. In 1701, English explorer John Lawson described his meeting with the "King" of the Santee Indians:
"At these cabins came to visit us the King of the Santee Nation...The Santee King...is most absolute Indian Ruler in these parts, although he is head but of a small people..."
From historical records, it is believed the Santee Indian tribe numbered around one-thousand in the year 1600. Due to disease and other factors, the Santee population dropped to under a hundred in the early 1700s. Today the Santee Indian Tribe is trying to preserve their heritage through historical and archaeological research.