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5 Facts About The Tuscarora Tribe

Tuscarora Tribe

#1. The Tuscarora Tribe Fought A War With English Colonists

The Tuscarora tribe was a Southeast Indian Tribe that resided in North Carolina. The North Carolina colony had colonists that began to encroach on the Tuscarora tribe lands and even attack them.

In response, the Tuscarora fought back and a war began.

The Tuscarora were divided into two tribes, the northern Tuscaroras and the southern Tuscaroras.

The southern Tuscarora collaborated with multiple tribes to attack the settlers in a wide range of locations within a short time period. Their principal targets were the planters on the Roanoke, Neuse, and Trent rivers, as well as the city of Bath.

They attacked on September 22, 1711, beginning the Tuscarora War. The allied Indian tribes killed hundreds of settlers, including several key political figures among the colonists.

Governor Edward Hyde of North Carolina called colonists to arms. Among the colonists were 350 allied Native Americans. The battle was a success as they won a decisive battle against the Tuscarora tribe.

Hyde then offered the northern chief, Chief Blunt, complete control over the tribe if he would be able to eliminate Chief Hancock of the southern Tuscarora. Blunt obliged and captured Hancock who was then executed.

In 1713 the Southern Tuscarora were defeated at their Fort Neoheroka, with 900 killed or captured in the battle.

After their defeat, the southern Tuscarora fled north and the northern Tuscarora sought refuge in the Virginia colony.

#2. The Fleeing Tuscarora Would Become The Sixth Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy

Iroquois Nations

Once in New York, the Tuscarora discovered that they had a shared language with the Oneida tribe. The Oneida tribe would influence the others in the Iroquois Confederacy to allow the Tuscarora’s join which they would.

They would become the sixth nation to join the Confederacy and would live nestled in between the Oneida and Onondaga tribes.

The Tuscarora had successfully found new land with powerful allies that could protect them from what they had just endured.

#3. The Tuscarora Sided With The Colonists During the American Revolution

Ironically the Tuscarora would become one of the two tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy to side with the colonists during the American Revolution. The other tribe would be the Oneida.

During the American Revolution, the Iroquois first tried to stay neutral. The Reverend Samuel Kirkland, a Congregational minister working as a missionary, pressured the Oneida and the Tuscarora for pro-American neutrality while Guy Johnson and his cousin John Johnson pressured the Mohawk, the Cayuga, and the Seneca to fight for the British.

Pressed to join one side or the other, the Tuscarora and the Oneida sided with the colonists, while the Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, and Cayuga remained loyal to Great Britain, with whom they had stronger relationships.

The Revolutionary War would be the beginning of the end of the Iroquois Confederacy in America.

#4. The Tuscarora Sided With The Americans In The War of 1812.

The Tuscarora tribe stayed loyal to the United States and even fought on their side during the War of 1812. They displayed tremendous bravery and would even fight against their former native allies.

The British attacked Lewiston, New York on December 19, 1813, a band of Tuscarora living in a village on an escarpment just above the town fought to save Americans fleeing the invasion force.

The British were accompanied by allied Mohawk and some American Tories disguised as Mohawk. The American militia fled, leaving only the Tuscarora—outnumbered 30 to one—to fight a delaying action that allowed some townspeople to escape.

The Tuscarora sent a party of braves to blow horns along the escarpment and suggest a larger force, while another party attacked downhill with war whoops, to give an exaggerated impression of their numbers.

The British force burned Lewiston, as well as the Tuscarora village, then undefended.

Their bravery during this conflict would not go unnoticed.

#5. The Tuscarora Tribe Still Reside In New York

The Tuscarora was once an enemy to the colonists and would eventually fight alongside them in two wars. Unfortunately, they were not always treated right or recognized for their contribution to American independence. 

However, they were one of the few tribes that were never removed and although it was hard they managed to stay in New York. They struggled in the 1950s when Robert Moses built a power plant that displaced some of the tribe.

There are still some Tuscarora that can live in North Carolina, but most of the tribe left the area for New York in the 18th century.

There were some that were absorbed by other Iroquois nations that relocated to Oklahoma.

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