COHARIE INDIAN TRIBE
About the People
The present population of the Coharie Indian Tribe is located in the southeastern region of the State of North Carolina in the counties of Harnett and Sampson. The Coharies descend from the aboriginal tribe of the Neusiok Indians. The current tribal roll has 3,032 members, with approximately 20% of these members residing outside the tribal communities. Historical movements, initiated by Inter-Tribal as well as White/Indian colonial hostilities, caused the Coharies to move to their pre-sent location between 1729 and 1746. Since this date, they have lived continuously as an Indian Tribe at or around the Little Coharie River. According to legend, when Coharie mothers heard strangers approaching their village, they gathered their children and softly whispered, “Shhh,” to quiet them until the strangers passed. You can hear the same sound today as the wind blows through the whispering pines.
Throughout the 1800’s, the Coharies built a political base in Sampson County. This allowed the Tribe to establish their own small subscription school for Coharie children since 1859. This was accomplished with the Tribe’s own funds and teachers. In 1911, the North Carolina Legislature gave the Coharies their own school system. While the state legislature rescinded its permission for the school system in 1913, it reinstated the separate Coharie school system four years later as a result of tribal activity, which included a published book on the Tribes’ history. The Coharies were given the East Carolina Indian School (ECI) in 1943. This was a high school for tribal members that also serviced Native American students from several surrounding counties. Governor Melville Broughton gave the main address during the dedication services. The original ECI building now serves as the current Coharie Tribal Administrative Offices.
The contemporary Coharie community consists of four main settlements: Holly Grove, New Bethel, Shiloh, and Antioch. Within these Coharie settlements are a number of Indian churches. The churches are the center of Coharie activities. It is through the churches that families interact, the Elders are honored, and the social rules enforced. The Coharies’ sense of themselves is manifested most clearly through their religious activities.
The Coharie Indian Tribe has been recognized by the state of North Carolina since 1971. The Tribal Chief proudly rep-resents the Coharie Tribe and is elected by the tribal membership every four years. The Coharie Intra-Tribal Council, Inc. currently governs the Tribe. It consists of a six member Tribal Council and Tribal Chairperson that are also elected by the tribal membership.
The Coharie Tribe continues to facilitate and provide services to the enrolled members of the Tribe in the areas of housing, economic development, employment, educational opportunities, tribal enrollment, cultural arts, health and community services.
To learn more about the history of the Coharie Tribe, please visit the link below to the Learn NC Curriculum Guide for Teaching about American Indians in North Carolina, and explore the Coharie Tribe’s educational content, which features historical and contemporary information.
Culturally Responsive Educational Resources
Teaching About the Coharie Tribe
Source: Learn NC
Resources for Accurate Information on Teaching To and About American Indians
Source: North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education
Map of NC Tribes: