In this segment, Herb McAmis, an adopted member of the Edisto-Kusso-Natchez people of Dorchester and Colleton Counties, explains that some are genetic Indians and some are Indians in their hearts. He sees nothing useful in identifying which are which because they all respect the customs and the culture of their forefathers. He explains the beliefs of their forefathers and the ancient ritual of dancing in a circle, derived from the culture of the Western Plains Indians. Theirs is a struggle for identity and respect in a world that barely acknowledges their existence. From the first contacts with Spanish explorers in the 1520s until the founding of the United States, the population along the lower coast declined frm 1,750 to less than 250 Indians, according to an account by Lt.Governor William Bull in 1770.
In this province, settled in 1670, there remains now, except a few Catawbas, nothing but their names—Kiawah, Wando, Wateree, Congaree, Oconee and dozens more. They are the rivers, islands, creeks and lands where these nations once flourished. Each nation possessed distinct dialects, beliefs and cultures, of which only the smallest fragments remain. Yet, some claim that they have survived and may be reasserting themselves. Those claiming American Indian as their race include Catawba, some Cherokee, and members of other tribes transplanted here. They also include other groups claiming indigenous and unique South Carolina roots. Along with the Catawba, they make upt the vast majority of Indians in South Carolina and include the Santee, Pee Dee, Chicora, and the Edisto.
(Produced in 1993 by South Carolina ETV)