NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Thousands of years of history is unfolding after the discovery of a canoe in the Cooper River and experts are showcasing it to Native American tribes across South Carolina.
“To be able to see something that my ancestors created thousands of years ago is amazing,” says Lamar Nelson, Chief of Eastern Cherokee and Southern Iroquois tribes.
Members of tribes here in the Lowcountry got a chance to see and touch the canoe.
“It’s mind blowing because I have always been told that my ancestors are indigenous,” says Lisa Mcqueen-Starling, Chief CEO of Wassamasaw Indian Nation.
Archaeologists at the Clemson University Warren Lasch Conservation Center are studying a piece of the canoe along with Native American tribes.
“We want to look to the communities and allow them to both inform us of the history, but also claim authority over their heritage,” says Gyllian Porteous an Archeolgoical Conservator at Warren Lasch Conservation Center.
Conserving the canoe has taken more than a year and archaeologists are now looking to find more pieces in the Cooper River.
“It can be associated with a cultural site that hasn’t been found yet so ideally we would go into that, but at this point we are at a dead end,” says Porteous.
Members of the Wassamasaw tribe in Berkeley County say they hope these pieces help show the impact of Native Americans on the Holy City.
“I hope that this will open up the discussion to really educate about the people that were here before,” says Sterling.
Archaeologists with Clemson University say it could take from 2 to 4 years until the canoe is displayed.