Resilience and Revolution:
Native Peoples in 18th Century South Carolina


“Resilience and Revolution: Native Peoples in the 18th Century South Carolina” explores the struggles experienced by Indigenous peoples in South Carolina to retain their independence through the upheavals, unrest, and uncertainty following the establishment of the Carolina colony by the British. “The exhibit examines Indigenous cultures by exploring such topics as Relationship with Nature, Women’s Roles, Social and Governmental Structure, Trade, and Wars of the 18th century.  It highlights how colonization and subsequent formation of the United States impacted Indigenous peoples,” notes Project Director Alice Taylor-Colbert.

Prior to European arrival at least 29 distinct tribal communities had lived for centuries in what later became known as South Carolina.  Each tribe had its own political, economic, and social systems.  As Europeans colonized and threatened their existence, Indigenous communities fought back or accepted the changes to their worlds. The resilience of the Indigenous peoples will be a theme woven throughout the exhibit as it shares information about how war impacts societies, how the pursuit of freedom and happiness can take different forms, and how Native peoples of the 18th century and descendants today can shape our never-ending quest to strengthen our Union.

Engraving of Cherokee delegation by Isaac Basire of Cherokee that travelled to London in 1730, including young Attakullakulla at the far right. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Photo courtesy of Alice Taylor-Colbert, Project Director.

“Resilience and Revolution” attempts to illuminate why relationships with European leaders and colonists changed dramatically over the course of the 18th century, in part due to the enslavement of and aggression against various Indigenous peoples. Maps, documents, images, and reproductions in the exhibition illustrate the rich cultural life and values of the diverse Native peoples in the 1700s to allow visitors to better understand this era.  

For more information about the project, contact Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert, consultant for SC Humanities, at

Where to see the exhibition:

For information about the Traveling Exhibit Program of the South Carolina State Museum and future booking of the exhibition, contact Timia D. Thompson, Collections Outreach Manager of the SC State Museum, at

Accompanying Presentations:

The following presentations are available to host sites to accompany the exhibition. Host sites interested in securing a speaker can learn more here.

Christopher Judge is an archaeologist who teaches anthropology classes at USC Lancaster, where he is Assistant Director of Native American Studies.  His research interests are in Late Precontact and Early Historic Native American societies in South Carolina. He is willing to do in-person or Zoom presentations.  He offers three possible talks:

The Elusive Cheraw Indians of South Carolina

The Cheraw Indians of the Carolinas were an important entity in the Colonial era. In this lecture, I will discuss an ethnohistoric process to identify the cultural affiliation of two individuals interred at the Johannes Kolb Site, in Darlington County, South Carolina. I trace the movement of the Cheraw across the Piedmont of North Carolina and ultimately to the Great Pee Dee River and beyond in an attempt to write a brief history for these two people that I believe are Cheraw.
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Are the Congaree Indians Descendants of Cofitachequi?

Named for a Native American group who appear in colonial records for the first time in 1691, generations of historians, ethnohistorians, and archaeologists have lamented the meager data that exist regarding the Congaree Indians. This lecture provides an overview of the Congaree, addressing the possibility they are descendants of the Chiefdom of Cofitachequi, visited by two Spanish expeditions in the 16th Century.
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The Great Pee Dee River is named for an Indian Tribe

The State of South Carolina recognizes several Pee Dee Tribal entities in Eastern South Carolina. Since Colonial times, the name Pee Dee has appeared in numerous historical records, but we know so little about them. This lecture illustrates what is known historically and archaeologically regarding the Pee Dee Indians.
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Bryan Rindfleisch completed his B.A. in American Indian Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and his Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma in Native American history and now teaches at Marquette University. He is the author of George Galphin’s Intimate Empire: The Creek Indians, Family, and Empire in Early America and Brothers of Coweta: Kinship, Empire, and Revolution in the Eighteenth-Century Muscogee World.  Given his location, he prefers Zoom presentations.  He offers two possible talks:

The Brothers of Coweta: Escotchaby and Sempoyaffee

Although much of the historical record left by European settlers was fairly robust, it included little about Indigenous people and even less about their kinship, clan, and familial dynamics. However, European authorities, imperial agents, merchants, and a host of other individuals left a surprising paper trail when it came to two brothers, Sempoyaffee and Escotchaby, of Coweta, located in what is now central Georgia. Though fleeting, their appearances in the archival record offer a glimpse of their extensive kinship connections and the ways in which family and clan propelled them into their influential roles negotiating with Europeans. As the brothers navigated the politics of empire, they pursued distinct family agendas that at times clashed with the interests of Europeans and other Muscogee leaders.
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Metawney of Coweta: A Muscogee (Creek) Woman in the Eighteenth Century

This talk utilizes brief archival glimpses of Metawney, a Muscogee woman, to illustrate how Muscogee women shaped their world and the American South more generally throughout the eighteenth-century. From Creation Stories and gender labor roles to the female dimensions of politics and trade, women like Metawney were central players within every element of the Muscogee world, including Muscogee interactions with Europeans; for they were the “life-givers” whose very lives, labors, and experiences fundamentally shaped the eighteenth-century Muscogee world. This is despite the fact Europeans rarely cared to document the gendered nature of the Muscogee world, an archival legacy that continues to hinder scholars’ understandings of Indigenous women in early America.
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Margaret Spivey-Faulkner is an anthropological archaeologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta (Canada). She is a citizen of the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek and uses archaeology to advance understanding of the Indigenous peoples of the Southeast. Given her location, she prefers Zoom presentations. She offers one possible talk:

The Pee Dee in the 18th Century

Though modern Pee Dee tribes do not currently enjoy federal recognition, the Pee Dee were regularly relied upon by the Colonial governments of the 18th Century. That time was marked by three wars that created major disruption to the traditional interactions between the Pee Dee and their neighboring Indigenous Nations: the Tuscarora War, the Yamasee War, and the American Revolution. The role the Pee Dee played in each conflict would chart the tribe's course through the next three hundred years. Here, I will explore that history, along with both the continuity and conflict it wrought in Pee Dee life.
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Alice Taylor-Colbert is a retired history professor and dean who serves as a consultant for South Carolina Humanities and other organizations.  She served on the editorial board of the Journal of Cherokee Studies produced by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC from 1988-2020.  She prefers in-person presentations. She offers one possible talk:

Cherokees in 18th Century South Carolina

Exploring Cherokee culture prior to European settlement is crucial to comprehending their values, gender roles, internal and external relationships, diplomacy, and conflict during this pivotal era in Cherokee history. The audience will learn how Cherokees dealt with European colonization, their relationships with South Carolinians and the British, and how they responded to the American Revolution and the new United States.
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Exhibit Team, Sponsors, and Partners

Scholars who researched and wrote the content for the exhibit are noted with an *.  Professional team members were essential contributors to the project.


Randy Akers, SC Humanities

*Brooke Bauer, University of Tennessee Knoxville

*Julia Coates, Cherokee Nation

Stephen Criswell, Native American Studies Center, USC Lancaster

*Chris Judge, Native American Studies Center, USC Lancaster

Bruce Maggi, Coastal Carolina University

Paul Matheny, SC State Museum

Patrick McCawley, SC Department of Archives and History

*William Ramsey, Lander University

*Bryan Rindfleisch, Marquette University

*Maggie Spivey-Faulkner, University of Alberta (Canada)

*Alice Taylor-Colbert, Project Director

Brittany Taylor-Driggers, Native American Studies Center, USC Lancaster

Timia Thompson, SC State Museum

JoAnn Zeise, SC State Museum

The National Endowment for the Humanities initiative A More Perfect Union provided funding for the exhibit. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation provided a grant for the exhibit. Additional funding came from South Carolina Humanities and other donors.

Thank you to our partner organizations: