Congaree National Park is Congaree Land
The Congaree Swamp is the homeland of the Congaree nation, southeastern farmers known for the tame cranes that roamed their villages. Like many tribes at the time, a devastating smallpox epidemic after contact with Europeans killed nine out of every ten people in their communities. [pause and just think about that for a minute]. Just when the communities were beginning to recover, they joined an effort with the Cherokee, Muskogee, and other tribes to push the Europeans out of South Carolina in the Yamasee War. This war was restating on both sides, but the Native coalition eventually lost. Following the conflict, slave traders in South Carolina took half the remaining community and sold them into slavery in the West Indies. I just want to say that the fact that the Congaree survived as a people through any one of these events is a testament to Native resilience, but finally, in order to survive, the remaining people gave up their land and joined the nearby Catawba nation, which remains a contemporary federally recognized tribe today.