Nooherooka 300

Nooherooka 300

On March 21-23, 2013, ECU partnered with the Tuscarora Nation, the Greene County Historical Museum, the N.C. Office of the State Archaeologist, Preservation North Carolina, and various community organizations to sponsor a series of events commemorating the 300th year of the Battle of Nooherooka, March 20-23, 1713. The battle pitted the dominant Tuscarora peoples residing between the Neuse and Roanoke Rivers against a militia force of rival native warriors and British fighters led by Colonel James Moore of South Carolina. Moore’s militia destroyed the main Nooherooka fortress located, today, off N.C. 58 north of Snow Hill, Greene County. Around 900 natives were killed, another 1,000 taken into slavery, and the remaining population forced to flee northward. British colonists soon advanced westward from the coast into the coastal plains and then the piedmont.

The Battle of Nooherooka thus eliminated Tuscarora presence in the central eastern plains and advanced British dominance of the same area, enlarging the “colony of Carolina.” With the commemorative events of 2013, ECU and its partners recognized the tragedies of remote history informing the eastern region’s often troubled past as its peoples struggled with domination and diversity, power and plurality. The commemorative events also sought to achieve new levels of understanding and healing for all legacy groups, including most notably, representatives of the Tuscarora Nation and peoples of contemporary eastern North Carolina.

Highlights included public lectures, library exhibits, Tuscarora musical performances, and a soccer contest between Tuscarora and ECU athletes. One of the climactic moments occurred when the Tuscarora Nation presented a wampum – the Neyuheruke Wampum – to ECU in remembrance of the Nooherooka 300th events and their significance for reconciliation between the Tuscarora Nation and North Carolinians. Prior to Nooherooka 300, the Tuscarora Nation had not presented a wampum in more than 200 years. Reportedly, the last one had been given to President George Washington. The wampum presented was hand-made by Tuscarora and Iroquois craftsmen and artisans now living in New York on their reservation near Niagara Falls. It was presented by Neil Patterson, Sr., the spokesperson for the Tuscarora. Patterson remarked, “We want to present to the people of North Carolina that we come in humility, we come with forgiveness in our hearts. To remember these things – what man can do to another man should never be done again.” Provost Marilyn Sheerer accepted the wampum on behalf of ECU. It is currently housed in ECU’s J. Y. Joyner Library, Special Collections.

Other events included the ceremonial dedication of a campus loblolly pine tree as “the official Tuscarora Tree at East Carolina.” In the ceremony, Tuscarora elders invited those present to sprinkle tobacco under the tree, symbolizing the burial of “any anger, enmity, or harsh feelings toward others.” On the final day, March 23, a stainless steel, arch-shaped monument located on the battle site was dedicated to the memory of those lost. It was designed and constructed by ECU art professor, Hanna Jubran and his wife Jodi Hollnagel-Jubran in collaboration with the Tuscarora Nation and the Greene County Museum. Jubran explained that the monument was to be “a holy and healing site representing the loss of the Tuscarora ancestors and homeland.”


Citation Information

Title: Nooherooka 300

Author: John A. Tucker, PhD

Date of Publication: 7/18/2019

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