The memorial to Native Americans in Indian Trail’s Crossing Paths Park celebrates the Woodland Indians who inhabited this area of the Piedmont for centuries and made use of the nearby trading route. The name of Indian Trail is based on the community location situated on the lands along the North Carolina and South Carolina border.
According to J.A. Mobley in “The Way We Lived in North Carolina,” the first Carolinians arrived more than 10,000 years ago during the last ice age and lived in small bands of no more than 50 people. They hunted Mastodon and deer. By about 8,000 B.C. the climate had warmed and crops could be grown to supplement their diet.
By 500 B.C. a Woodland tradition emerged with Native Americans making pottery and smoking tobacco in clay pipes. By A.D. 1200 the bow and arrow became commonly used for hunting and Woodland North Carolinians were cultivating corn, beans and squash.
Two of the more prominent Woodland tribes close to Indian Trail were the Catawba and the Waxhaw. The Catawba call themselves “yeh is-WAH h’reh,” or People of the River, from the main river valley of this region.
The Waxhaw inhabited the Cane Creek area of the same valley. Tribes settled along rivers because the rivers provided food, transportation and water. The Catawba and Waxhaw were among the Siouan-speaking peoples. Other Siouan tribes of the Piedmont area included the Cape Fear, Cheraw, Eno, Keyauwee, Occaneechi, Saponi, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugaree, Tutelo, Waccamaw, Wateree and Woccon.
The Catawba people, at one time, numbered as many as 10,000 people. Their numbers declined due to disease, war and alcohol in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Descendants live in the vicinity of Rock Hill, S.C. At the beginning of the 21st century, total tribal membership was approximately 2,500. The tribe was officially recognized by South Carolina in 1993.
– Article submitted by Roger J. Fish of Indian Trail