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Native American Heritage
Federal and State Recognized Tribes

Catawba Indians at the Corn Exhibition in Rock Hill in 1913
Catawba Indians at the Corn Exhibition in Rock Hill, SC 1913

Recognition of Native American Indian tribes acknowledges the right of sovereignty and self government. There are two levels of recognition: federal and state. At the federal level, recognition puts tribal governments at the same level as state governments with their rights to tax, make and enforce laws, and regulate activities. At the state level of recognition, tribal governments are equal to county governments. Recognition, at either level, allows for tribes to determine requirements for membership.

A Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) serves as the State Historic Preservation Office on federally recognized tribal lands. THPOs are designated by the National Park Service as formal participants in the national preservation program.

The SC State Historic Preservation Office has made a good faith effort to identify federally recognized Indian tribes with historic affiliation to the state. Of the tribes identified and listed to the right, the Catawba Indian Nation is the only resident federally recognized Indian tribe in South Carolina. Several of the tribes, including the Catawba Indian Nation, have a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). Visit the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers website, the National Congress of American Indians website, or an individual tribe’s website to find more information for tribal governments. Visit the website of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for additional information about consulting with Indian tribes in the Section 106 process. It is a federal agency’s responsibility to identify pertinent Indian tribes and approach them regarding their interest in consultation. 

State of South Carolina Recognized Native American Indian entities:

Pursuant to SC Code of Laws Section 1-31-40(A)(10) and SC Code of Regulations Chapter 139, the State of South Carolina recognizes three categories of Native American Indian entities in South Carolina:  Native American Indian Tribes, Native American Indian Groups, and Native American Indian Special Interest Organizations.

Federal agencies could identify these entities as additional consulting parties (36 CFR 800.2(c)(5)) and invite them to participate in Section 106 consultation. 

Visit the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs website for additional information about state recognition and about non-recognized Native American Indian entities in the state.

State Recognized Native American Indian Tribes:

Beaver Creek Indians

Edisto Natchez Kusso Tribe of South Carolina

Pee Dee Nation of Upper South Carolina

Pee Dee Indian Tribe of South Carolina

Piedmont American Indian Association – Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation of South Carolina

Santee Indian Organization

Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians

The Waccamaw Indian People

Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown Indians 

State Recognized Groups and Special Interest Organizations:

Chaloklowa Chickasaw Indian People

Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of SC

Natchez Tribe of South Carolina

Pee Dee Indian Tribe of Beaver Creek  

American Indian Chamber of Commerce of South Carolina

Little Horse Creek American Indian Cultural Center