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Indigenous People: The First Environmentalists

Indigenous people have a long and storied connection with nature, the land, the waterways and the ocean environment. They see their relationship to the environment as a part of the same system in which they live, respecting natural resources as shared property.

North Carolina has the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi River. Today, according to the 2020 US census, there are 104,000 native Americans living in North Carolina – about 1% of the population.

Of the eight tribes recognized by North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is the only tribe officially recognized by the federal government as a result of the federal Lumbee Act of 1956.

Stan Allen, born in North Carolina, is currently authoring a book about the Native Americans of Eastern North Carolina, including the Lumbee and Haliwa-Saponi people. Stan shares his decades long collection of photographs shown in the slides and artifacts displayed which are introduced throughout the presentation.


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