‘Time is too precious’

The Waccamaw Siouan Tribe oral history project needs volunteers. (Courtesy photo).
The Waccamaw Siouan Tribe oral history project needs volunteers. (Courtesy photo).

Waccamaw Siouan Tribe preserving their culture for the future. 

Many times in life we miss the opportunity to learn and preserve the knowledge of our elders, but the Waccamaw Siouan tribe is making sure their heritage lives on and gets passed down generation to generation. The name of this platform will be the Star Preservation Project.  

Ashley Lomboy took to Facebook and requested help via the Waccamaw Siouan STEM Studio page to recruit folks to interview and record the older men and women of the tribe to pass down their stories to future generations.  The purpose of the page is to inform the tribe about opportunities for their people. The resources posted cover everything from scholarships to history and projects.  

The Waccamaw Siouan indigenous people first appeared in historical documents in 1712 when an attempt was made to persuade the tribe and the Cape Fears to join James Moore’s expedition against the Tuscarora. 

The Waccamaw, known as the Waccommassus in those times, were located 100 miles northeast of Charleston, S. C. Around 1749, a war was waged between the tribe and the state. In May of 1778, the Council of South Carolina offered them protection, and after the war, the Waccamaw sought refuge in North Carolina. The tribe now resides on the edge of the Green Swamp, mostly in the Buckhead and St. James communities.

“Our story is important to tell from our point of view and without other biases or slants,” Lomboy said. “Each story and perspective is uniquely different and important.” She says that just sitting and listening to the elders of the tribe provides a learning experience like no other. 

Lomboy says it’s not a problem if you don’t have any experience with sound equipment or interviewing. The organization has partnered with the Museum of the Southeastern American Indians to help provide training.  

She says that the project needs to get underway as soon as possible because the recent pandemic has caused a great loss of key members in the tribe. “Time is too precious and many elders we first had identified to interview in March have passed on. Time is not on our side,” said Lomboy.

If you would like to participate in the Star Preservation Project, you can contact Lomboy by Facebook or by email at ashley.lomboy@waccamaw-siouan.org

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Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of columbuscountynews.com and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@columbuscountynews.com.