FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Fairfield County residents interested in researching their Native American ancestry are encouraged to attend a free presentation at 11 a.m. Jan. 24 in the Christ Central Community Center.
Val Green, a ninth-generation South Carolinian and native of Bishopville, will introduce practical approaches to researching one’s native ancestry. Documentation for family traditions of native bloodlines is relatively scarce, due to the past cultural and political taboos on interracial marriages.
The Christ Central Community Center is located at 235 S. Congress St. next door to the Museum.
Green lives on his Fairfield County maternal ancestral family lands at Salem Crossroads. His interests in Indian history spring from his own family ties and a life-long study of southeastern native people.
His maternal grandmother related her own Indian heritage through her Crowder family ancestry and he has researched the lineage to a Catawba fifth great-grandmother. Two other ancestors are documented as deerskin traders in the Carolinas.
He has spent many years studying the colonial deerskin trading routes and the historical figures associated with this early business in the Carolinas and Virginia. Part of this search involves locating the paths and the trading posts set up by the South Carolina Colonial government in 1716.
Related interests include the mystery of the Mississippian people who inhabited central South Carolina for a thousand years before the arrival of Europeans. He is currently working on locating the route of John Lawson, an English explorer who traversed the natives’ highways of the Carolinas in the year 1701. Closely related to the journey of Lawson were the epic stories of the Conquistador Hernando de Soto who visited the same areas in 1540.
Green is the current chairman of the Pee Dee Tribal Commission. Many will remember the herd of American buffalo that he raised on his Salem Crossroads farm in the 1980s. He has been active in SCETV and UNCTV film projects and broadcasts about Indian culture.
Efforts to record Indian families in the early 20th century for some of the federally recognized tribes such as the Cherokees have provided some government records, but many others of the state’s tribes such as the Catawba, Pee Dee, Santee, Edisto, etc., went under the radar to avoid the hardships of illegality and racial oppression, thus relegating much of their history to family legend.