South Carolina now officially recognizes nine American Indian tribes after a Cherokee group last week became the latest to receive the designation.
The Commission for Minority Affairs Board has officially granted State Recognition to the PAIA Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation of South Carolina. The new designation took effect on Friday, ending nine years of work applying for the strict criteria.
“We cried,” the tribe’s chief Gene Norris said about the announcement. “We cried because we were finally recognized as who we are.”
The Gray Court-based tribe had to submit more than 600 pages of documentation to meet the 14-step criteria that the Commission requires for any potential tribes. Among the requirements are that the group’s members link their ancestry back to known Cherokee, have at least 100 members related by blood, and show at least 100 years of continuity as a people.