The state Commission for Minority Affairs is asking Native Americans across South Carolina to come forward so that their needs can be addressed. The effort is being hailed as the first of its kind here in the Palmetto State.
The commission will be meeting with American Indians from Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ridge Baptist Church, 2168 Ridge Church Road, in Summerville. The gathering is being hosted by the Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown Indians and the Edisto Tribe. Basically, attendees will be asked to fill out a survey, which will be used in determining future efforts by the commission.
[gmap markers=blue::33.04194639014741,-80.1117467880249 |zoom=15 |center=33.042845753425475,-80.11728286743164 |width=470px |height=250px |control=Small |type=Map]
If you can't make it to this one, there is a second meeting set for August 9, but no details are available for that one yet. And the event won't be all business, either. There will be music and refreshments, as well.
From The Post and Courier:
"For so long we've had to be hidden and hide ourselves as another population," said Marcy Hayden, program coordinator for the commission's Native American Affairs. "Now, it's time for us to say, 'We're here.' "
More than 27,000 American Indians are estimated to live in South Carolina, but just how low that number is isn't known, Hayden said. Learning how many people of native heritage live in South Carolina is part of the data the commission is trying to collect.
Lisa Leach, tribal administrator for the Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown Indians who helped organize the event, said she believes the surveys can serve as a springboard for the community by highlighting societal struggles and preservation issues.
Some of the topics that will be on the survey are transportation, family life, and work issues. All information on the surveys is confidential.