Author Topic: Beaver Creek Indian Tribe of South Carolina  (Read 3528 times)

Beaver Creek Indian Tribe of South Carolina
« on: April 18, 2010, 05:00:23 AM »
Hi,

I was searching for more information on the Beaver Creek Indians in South Carolina. I found an old post in archives on this site, http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=21.0  

"Dennis Bracy, so-called "Chief" of a mythical Beaver Creek Indians group in South Carolina, once wrote that he "envies" the skin of Indian women.  Rochelle Link, also a member of the Beaver Creek Indians, claims that her family is white today because her ancestors "bleached" their skin to remove its dark color."

And nothing more. Are they a real tribe or fake?  I searched they come up as being state recognized, same with the Pee Dee. The only fed recognized is the Catawba.

Maybe this is in the wrong place .. but I'm wondering, how does a person know if the Beaver Creek are real?

I found this on their history:  http://beavercreekindians.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2

The Beaver Creek Indians were matrilineal. By this we mean that the family ties are traced through the mothers family lines. The families, related to each other through the mother, formed the basic social unit of the tribe. A child followed the ethnicity of his mother. Even today we venerate our tribal mothers.

There are very few documents to substantiate the Native American heritage of the Beaver Creek Indians. Adding to the difficulty of research is that public documents often classified us as white or mulatto. Our earliest known ancestor is Lazarus Chavis . Using citations from our state recognition submission we say that he was born in South Carolina circa 1759. He was in the Revolutionary War and received a pension from that war. He is listed on the first Federal Census of 1790 and every census up to 1830. Our submission states that The Caroliniana Library in Columbia has hand written documentation from a manuscript Bessie Garvin wrote that states that Lazarus was Indian and so were Richard, William, Phillip and James “Jim” Chavis. It also lists Lazarus as William’s grandfather (Ex. 4-A of petition). Lazarus was the father of Frederick, James and Nancy Chavis, Our entire genealogy begins with Lazarus Chavis and his children.
----

I'm thinking, first they say their people are traced by mother, but then state this man, Jim Chavis as their link. If they are tracing by mother, why or how would he even be involved in it?

I guess I'm just confused, and would like some input from anyone who truly knows the history of these people.  

Here is the full history that is posted on the web address http://beavercreekindians.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2

BEAVER CREEK INDIANS
A SOUTH CAROLINA
STATE RECOGNIZED TRIBE

THEN AND NOW


(using historical citations and information from the South Carolina State Recognition Submission to the Office of Minority Affairs)

PART ONE – OUR HISTORICAL HERITAGE

Our historical forbears lived as did other Indian tribes along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. These Indians were the remnants of the first inhabitants of North America who crossed from Asia to North America by way of a land bridge. These bands of people spread out across what we know as the United States looking for the prehistoric large game such as bison, mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. As the numbers of these large game became less plentiful, the Indians began hunting, fishing and gathering plants and berries for food. They hunted smaller game and began to move about less and less and the Indian population increased. With the development of pottery making, Indians had a way to store and preserve their foods. The use of pottery was widespread among all Indians. Semi- permanent villages were formed for Indians who lived in the Southeast. Indians planted crops and made tools, jewelry and objects to be used in their ceremonies. The tribes traded with each other.

Before our historic ancestors had contact with Europeans, they lived in the forests and woodlands along the eastern coast. Earliest dealings Indians had with Europeans were friendly; our ancestors helped the Europeans to adapt to the new way of life in what we call North America. This relationship changed over time as Indians became involved in the warfare between the European factions. Indians took sides in these battles and many times ended up fighting other Indians who might have chosen a different faction to support. Because of the poor treatment of Indians by the Europeans, tribes merged with each other to form stronger fronts against these Europeans, many of them English traders. All Indian tribes suffered from the diseases brought to our homelands by the Europeans. Measles and smallpox decimated Indian tribes. As white settlers encroached on Indian lands, more and more land was lost to the invaders. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 affected not only the Cherokees, but other tribes who were forced from the areas and lands that they had lived on for hundreds of years.

The Southeast Indians were fortunate in that there was generally an abundant supply of food. Men cleared the land for planting and were the hunters and fishers of the tribes. Women farmed the land and gathered nuts and berries and wild plants for their use. Planting was done by use of the “three sisters method”. The three sisters were corn, beans and squash, the staples foods of our ancestors. The three loving sisters had to live together to grow and flourish. The planting was done in mounds. The eldest sister, corn, grew tall and strong. The next eldest sister, bean, grew along the tall corn stalks, leaning on her elder sister for support. The younger sister, squash, grew under the feet of her sisters, protecting them and keeping the needed moisture for them.

Our ancestors, then and now, revere Mother Earth and the story of the three sisters shows how our ancestors honor Mother Earth and Father Sun for what we are given. Even today, Indians have great respect for the fruits of the Earth by not killing the animals on the land, the fish of the rivers or the birds of the sky and water for any reason other than for food.

PART TWO – OUR DISTANT PAST

Our ancestors settled along the north and south branches of the Edisto River in the Big and Little Beaver Creek area, hence the name of our tribe, Beaver Creek Indians. This name denotes from whence we came. From our state recognition submission we claim that the Beaver Creek Indians are the descendents of several small mixed-blood South Carolina tribes. As noted above, Southeastern tribes merged with each other for reasons of protection against invading Europeans, because of intermarriage or for other economic reasons. We have been a presence in and along the Beaver Creek area in Neeses and Orangeburg County for over 200 years (section 6.1 of state submission document). We were viewed by the rest of the population of this area of South Carolina to be different and to be set apart from the population. Our people existed as a separated community. Our people were called derogatory names due to our color and ancestry (6-B of recognition submission). Names such as Red Legs, Smiling Indians, Croatans, Brass Ankles and Mulattos were some of these names. In a 1948 article by Brewton Berry (and cited in our submission document) entitled “The Mestizos of South Carolina” these unflattering names are used to denote what he calls “outcastes”. They were not white, he says, and further, do not fit into the biracial caste system. Thus comes our claim of mixed race ethnicity. As groups formed, merged and reformed, it became more difficult to remain a cohesive tribe. Our submission document states that by the middle of the eighteenth century, many of our tribal members were living on the fringes of towns.

Intermarriage with other tribes, Europeans and African Americans further resulted in the loss of our culture. After the Indian Removal Act of 1830, whites in the South grouped anyone who was not white in a group called “colored”. If a group was not recognized by a treaty (such as the Cherokee tribe), it was especially true. For a tribe like ours, the Beaver Creek, we lost much of our culture and it became very easy for whites to classify us as “colored”.

Our state recognition submission (section 3.1) states that “our people stem from the thirty odd small, indigenous tribes of the coastal region of South Carolina”. Over time the “Indian-ness” was stripped from our people and our culture and our sense of tribal belonging was lost. Our forebears lived in isolation in the swamps and piney woods of the area.

Our people were farmers and in more recent times were carpenters. Because of the lush first growth of wood in the Southeast, our ancestors cut timber and floated the wood down the coast for sale and trade with other tribes and peoples. We were hunters and gatherers. Food hunted by our ancestors was deer, wild boar, raccoon and squirrel. We fished and hunted wild game by season. We made arrowheads and pottery for our own use and for trade. We buried our dead ritually in mounds that can still be found in our area.

The Beaver Creek Indians were matrilineal. By this we mean that the family ties are traced through the mothers family lines. The families, related to each other through the mother, formed the basic social unit of the tribe. A child followed the ethnicity of his mother. Even today we venerate our tribal mothers.

There are very few documents to substantiate the Native American heritage of the Beaver Creek Indians. Adding to the difficulty of research is that public documents often classified us as white or mulatto. Our earliest known ancestor is Lazarus Chavis . Using citations from our state recognition submission we say that he was born in South Carolina circa 1759. He was in the Revolutionary War and received a pension from that war. He is listed on the first Federal Census of 1790 and every census up to 1830. Our submission states that The Caroliniana Library in Columbia has hand written documentation from a manuscript Bessie Garvin wrote that states that Lazarus was Indian and so were Richard, William, Phillip and James “Jim” Chavis. It also lists Lazarus as William’s grandfather (Ex. 4-A of petition). Lazarus was the father of Frederick, James and Nancy Chavis, Our entire genealogy begins with Lazarus Chavis and his children. Because of the noted scarcity of Indian records, there are no birth, death or marriage certificates. They did not have first, middle or last names as did Europeans. However, there are some land deeds to prove that our ancestors lived in the Orangeburg area. Family names that continue through to present day in our tribe are Chavis, Hutto, Bolin, Hoover, Williams, Huffman/Hoffman and Gleaton. Frederick Chavis petitioned the state of South Carolina in 1839 to be known as Indian. Some of the death certificates of our ancestors have the designation “Croatan” on their death certificates. This term was often used to denote a person of mixed breed Indian. Our ancestors knew that they were Indian but due to the mixed tribal heritage, they did not know what kind of Indian they were.

Our ancestors have served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and in World War II. In modern time, our members have served and now serve in the Korean War, Vietnam, in the Persian Gulf and in Iraq. Then, as now, Beaver Creek Indians were proud to be Americans even in a time that Americans were not proud to include them as first class citizens.

Elders of our tribe say (Ex 4-F of recognition submission) that they did not know their tribal identity and were ashamed to call themselves Indian. Their families told them that they were Indian but were secretive about discussing it. Usually, children were forbidden to speak about their Indian heritage, further aiding the loss of our culture by not having our oral history passed down from parent to child and ongoing.

PART THREE – BEAVER CREEK INDIANS TODAY

The Beaver Creek Indian Tribe today has it’s office in the town of Salley, South Carolina at 220 Pine Street. Many of our tribal members live in Aiken, Lexington and Orangeburg counties although we have members who live in various parts of the United States. Our tribal rolls are currently closed. This was a one of the requirements for being considered for state recognition. Our membership numbers about 2,000.

The mission of the Beaver Creek Indian Tribe is: “We, the descendants of the Beaver Creek Indian People desiring to follow in the ways of our ancestors, aim to provide our people with freedom of worship, to promote the achievement of self-government, and thereby to preserve, promote, protect, and respect the heritage, culture, traditions and rights of our people as tribal members of the Beaver Creek Indian Tribe for us in the present and for the unborn tribal members of the next seven generations to come”.

We understand that the perception of the Indian in today’s society is in the state of change. Today, we are proud to claim our rightful heritage. This has not always been the way that we were viewed by white society. In this century, our people were segregated by being required to attend schools that taught only Indians. The Four Pine School in the Orangeburg area is an example of this. Students were separated by design and by plan. When our children left the Indian schools and attended the “white” school they were ridiculed and taunted for their difference. Most did not graduate.

Records show that our ancestors gave land to be used for a school, for churches and for cemeteries. Many of our forefathers are buried in these cemeteries; some are ritually buried. We have been here for many years and continue to be a presence in this area.

Even though our Beaver Creek men honored their country by serving in the military, they still were held apart and separated from society. Often, as in the Civil War, our men were recruited into regiments that were Indian in origin.

Only in the past twenty-five years has it been a recognized and honored (to limited extent) place in society to be considered an Indian. Although the descendants of Lazarus Chavis have been a presence throughout the twentieth century in the Beaver Creek area, we are only now receiving our rightful respect for our Indian lineage.

Today, we are guided by a Tribal Council that is elected for set terms of office. We have tribal chief and tribal elders. In 1998 we formally organized into what is known now as Beaver Creek Indians. We are a non- profit organization with bylaws and a constitution. We have a tribal office in the town of Salley, South Carolina. Possibly the most significant event is that on August 29, 2006, the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs presented us with our State Recognition Document. This affirms that we are who we say that we are; indigenous people who are recognized by South Carolina as an Indian tribe.
------

Thank you.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 05:29:18 PM by educatedindian »
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Offline educatedindian

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Re: Beaver Creek Indian Tribe of South Carolina
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2010, 05:28:47 PM »
Hi,

I was searching for more information on the Beaver Creek Indians in South Carolina. I found an old post in archives on this site, http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=21.0  

"Dennis Bracy, so-called "Chief" of a mythical Beaver Creek Indians group in South Carolina, once wrote that he "envies" the skin of Indian women.  Rochelle Link, also a member of the Beaver Creek Indians, claims that her family is white today because her ancestors "bleached" their skin to remove its dark color."

And nothing more. Are they a real tribe or fake?  I searched they come up as being state recognized, same with the Pee Dee. The only fed recognized is the Catawba.

Maybe this is in the wrong place .. but I'm wondering, how does a person know if the Beaver Creek are real?

I found this on their history:  http://beavercreekindians.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2

The Beaver Creek Indians were matrilineal. By this we mean that the family ties are traced through the mothers family lines. The families, related to each other through the mother, formed the basic social unit of the tribe. A child followed the ethnicity of his mother. Even today we venerate our tribal mothers.

There are very few documents to substantiate the Native American heritage of the Beaver Creek Indians. Adding to the difficulty of research is that public documents often classified us as white or mulatto. Our earliest known ancestor is Lazarus Chavis . Using citations from our state recognition submission we say that he was born in South Carolina circa 1759. He was in the Revolutionary War and received a pension from that war. He is listed on the first Federal Census of 1790 and every census up to 1830. Our submission states that The Caroliniana Library in Columbia has hand written documentation from a manuscript Bessie Garvin wrote that states that Lazarus was Indian and so were Richard, William, Phillip and James “Jim” Chavis. It also lists Lazarus as William’s grandfather (Ex. 4-A of petition). Lazarus was the father of Frederick, James and Nancy Chavis, Our entire genealogy begins with Lazarus Chavis and his children.
----

I'm thinking, first they say their people are traced by mother, but then state this man, Jim Chavis as their link. If they are tracing by mother, why or how would he even be involved in it?

I guess I'm just confused, and would like some input from anyone who truly knows the history of these people.  

Here is the full history that is posted on the web address http://beavercreekindians.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2

BEAVER CREEK INDIANS
A SOUTH CAROLINA
STATE RECOGNIZED TRIBE

THEN AND NOW


(using historical citations and information from the South Carolina State Recognition Submission to the Office of Minority Affairs)

PART ONE – OUR HISTORICAL HERITAGE

Our historical forbears lived as did other Indian tribes along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. These Indians were the remnants of the first inhabitants of North America who crossed from Asia to North America by way of a land bridge. These bands of people spread out across what we know as the United States looking for the prehistoric large game such as bison, mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. As the numbers of these large game became less plentiful, the Indians began hunting, fishing and gathering plants and berries for food. They hunted smaller game and began to move about less and less and the Indian population increased. With the development of pottery making, Indians had a way to store and preserve their foods. The use of pottery was widespread among all Indians. Semi- permanent villages were formed for Indians who lived in the Southeast. Indians planted crops and made tools, jewelry and objects to be used in their ceremonies. The tribes traded with each other.
 
....Planting was done by use of the “three sisters method”. The three sisters were corn, beans and squash, the staples foods of our ancestors. The three loving sisters had to live together to grow and flourish. The planting was done in mounds. The eldest sister, corn, grew tall and strong. The next eldest sister, bean, grew along the tall corn stalks, leaning on her elder sister for support. The younger sister, squash, grew under the feet of her sisters, protecting them and keeping the needed moisture for them....

PART TWO – OUR DISTANT PAST

Our ancestors settled along the north and south branches of the Edisto River in the Big and Little Beaver Creek area, hence the name of our tribe, Beaver Creek Indians. This name denotes from whence we came. From our state recognition submission we claim that the Beaver Creek Indians are the descendents of several small mixed-blood South Carolina tribes. As noted above, Southeastern tribes merged with each other for reasons of protection against invading Europeans, because of intermarriage or for other economic reasons. We have been a presence in and along the Beaver Creek area in Neeses and Orangeburg County for over 200 years (section 6.1 of state submission document). We were viewed by the rest of the population of this area of South Carolina to be different and to be set apart from the population. Our people existed as a separated community. Our people were called derogatory names due to our color and ancestry (6-B of recognition submission). Names such as Red Legs, Smiling Indians, Croatans, Brass Ankles and Mulattos were some of these names. In a 1948 article by Brewton Berry (and cited in our submission document) entitled “The Mestizos of South Carolina” these unflattering names are used to denote what he calls “outcastes”. They were not white, he says, and further, do not fit into the biracial caste system. Thus comes our claim of mixed race ethnicity. As groups formed, merged and reformed, it became more difficult to remain a cohesive tribe. Our submission document states that by the middle of the eighteenth century, many of our tribal members were living on the fringes of towns.

Intermarriage with other tribes, Europeans and African Americans further resulted in the loss of our culture. After the Indian Removal Act of 1830, whites in the South grouped anyone who was not white in a group called “colored”. If a group was not recognized by a treaty (such as the Cherokee tribe), it was especially true. For a tribe like ours, the Beaver Creek, we lost much of our culture and it became very easy for whites to classify us as “colored”.

Our state recognition submission (section 3.1) states that “our people stem from the thirty odd small, indigenous tribes of the coastal region of South Carolina”. Over time the “Indian-ness” was stripped from our people and our culture and our sense of tribal belonging was lost....

There are very few documents to substantiate the Native American heritage of the Beaver Creek Indians. Adding to the difficulty of research is that public documents often classified us as white or mulatto. Our earliest known ancestor is Lazarus Chavis....Our entire genealogy begins with Lazarus Chavis and his children....Some of the death certificates of our ancestors have the designation “Croatan” on their death certificates. This term was often used to denote a person of mixed breed Indian. Our ancestors knew that they were Indian but due to the mixed tribal heritage, they did not know what kind of Indian they were.

....Elders of our tribe say (Ex 4-F of recognition submission) that they did not know their tribal identity and were ashamed to call themselves Indian. Their families told them that they were Indian but were secretive about discussing it. Usually, children were forbidden to speak about their Indian heritage, further aiding the loss of our culture by not having our oral history passed down from parent to child and ongoing.


------

Thank you.

The first thing that jumped out at me was that they accept the Bering Strait Theory for their origins. I've never heard of a tribe believing that before. So much of the writings sound like what an anthro would write, not an Indian. And the three sisters story, isn't that for tribes much further north?

Much of their account (everything I bolded) sounds like they have always been people of vaguely defined and uncertain ethnicity, even to themselves. The term that some scholars use is Tri Racial Isolates. Mixed ancestry people who lived apart from others in the southern states, peoples like the Melungeon, Pee Dee, Lumbee, etc. Like the others I just named, they do seem to be of Indian ancestry, as well as other backgrounds. They do seem to have lived apart, in part because of social isolation and racism. But whether you can call them an Indian tribe is less certain. By their own admission, they weren't really united as a political unit until recently, so they probably can never get federal recognition.

I wouldn't call them frauds, but sadly the evidence for them being Indian is not very strong, and that's by their own admission.

I did find a Dennis Bracy as head of a company called Beaver Creek Indians, but not as the chairman.
http://www.allbusiness.com/companyprofile/Beaver_Creek_Indians/0A4CFA5C77E22C1B666CB7AFF31DA696-1.html

Couldn't find anything on Link.

Re: Beaver Creek Indian Tribe of South Carolina
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2010, 06:12:32 AM »
Thanks, that has given a lot to think about. Seems it is a weak situation at best, and yet, at the same time, a people trying to find where they came from and who they are. 

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Offline PalmettoPatriot

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Re: Beaver Creek Indian Tribe of South Carolina
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 08:05:30 AM »
   Sorry to Lazarus this thread, but I found it on Google and felt the need to speak out about a serious misconception by the OP.  I am doing so as a 3rd party, not a member of the Beaver Creek tribe, though I am related to them as well as others.  In fact, we are ALL related.  They are indeed Native Americans - or descended from them if you want to focus on skin pigment and language/culture.  The same family names prevalent with them are o with other SC tribes: Braveboy, Clark, Chavis, McPherson, Muckenfuss (McInvess), Beneholy, Allen, Varner, Scott, etc.  These are the same surnames that exist within Catawba and Lumbee people.  All of these people are Iswa, Esau, Isaw, or however you want to write or anglicize it.  In Catawba, it simply means "River people".  Catawba is actually a Creek word meaning "scalp taker".  Apparently the Creeks thought that Catawbas and Yuchis were nutso - Yuchi for their weird cultural practices like no real concept of marriage and total free love without taboo and Catawbas because they had a reputation for being half cocked all of the time and being especially brutal during war.   Like many tribes, including the Cherokee (Ani-yun-wiya) the Catawba real name is ignored or unimportant and they are simply called by the racial slurs of their neighboring tribes.  From my own readings many more qualified historians past and present consider all of the Siouan SC tribes, most NC tribes, and some VA tribes as all part of the Siouan (Catawba) Confederacy. 

   This also brings up an interesting point: If the Lumbee, Tuscarora remnants, and SC Siouan tribes all have the same 75 or so families as fore-bearers as the Catawbas with the same claimed or bred in surnames that means that, one, all of us should be considered Native and, two, that we should all be able to get federal recognition since we are the same people that they are.  In fact, John and James Scott, who are considered forefathers of the modern Cheraw tribe (which has SC state recognition) were hied by the city of Charleston to act as translators for Catawbas visiting to trade.  Now - how do anthropologists determine relation among people?  Language.  otherwise the claims that the Scots are related to the Irish, that the Serbs are related to the Russians, or that the Ethiopians are related to the Hebrews would be useless.  All are provable through linguistic study.  This is why many, myself included, believe that all of these tribes are Iswaand that we simply followed the practice of naming our bands to coincide with the nearest river.  They were afterall "The River People".

   As for the Beaver Creek Indian website - it's terrible.  It looks like it was designed in 1993 and the writing in it is horrible.  It isn't misleading, it just doesn't get to the point and wanders off into "dubya tee eff are you talking about" land.  But if you see their ancestry, they are related to the Lumbee, Catawba, and other recognized SC tribes through blood and historical.  As far as being maternal yet claiming ancestry through one man, you have to expect that.  We live in a society that recognizes paternal lineage and therefore that society's records will reflect that.  So to prove ancestry, you must abandon the practice of your ancestors and instead go by the System's rules - which is part of the injury on top of insult of being the descendants of those who survived systematic soft genocide and an organized campaign of forced assimilation under the white supremacist machine of the past, and now you gotta prove it by their rules to call yourself what you already know that you are.

   Thanks for hearing me out.  If you disagree with my views, please be gentle.  I'm a delicate little flower.    ::)

Shalom, y'all.  Blessings to all,

Libertarian Jim

(related to every freakin' tribe in SC and some outside of it, including the Eastern Band Cherokee and the Yuchi - oh, and Dutch, German, and Spanish Jews.)

"I'm a Jewish Indian.  So-Sioux-Me!"

Offline earthw7

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Re: Beaver Creek Indian Tribe of South Carolina
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 03:37:04 AM »
i cant even say anything :o
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