NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Thousands of years of history are unfolding after the discovery of a canoe in the Cooper River. 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.
Archaeologists at the Clemson University Warren Lasch Conservation Center study a piece of the canoe with Native American tribes.
“We want to look to the communities and allow them to inform us of the history, but also claim authority over their heritage,” says Gyllian Porteous an Archeological 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.
Archaeologists with Clemson University say it could take from 2 to 4 years until the canoe is displayed.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story included comments and sound from Lisa Mcqueen-Starling, who the Secretary of the Wassamasaw Tribal Executive Board said is not a legitimate representative of the Wassamasaw Native Community. Her comments have been removed.