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Simmons sitting in at historic Fort Neoheroka

By Pine Needle Staff

UNCP American Indian Studies major sophomore Derrick Simmons is participating in the North Carolina Tuscaroras occupation of historic Fort Neoheroka in Snow Hill, N.C., on Oct. 29-30.

According to a press release from the Tuscaroras, the occupation of the site is an attempt to protect the site and any ancestral remains that may be buried there.            

Fort Neoheroka was the final stronghold destroyed by colonial forces during the Tuscarora War of 1711-1713.

The 1713 siege on the fort, led by Col. James Moore, lasted for more than three weeks.            

According to the Tuscaroras, at the end of the battle, more than 950 Tuscarora men, women and children were either killed or captured and then they were later sold into slavery.

Fort Neoheroka is located on what today is a family farm.            

Excavation of the fort began in 1990 and was sponsored by East Carolina University's Institute for Historical and Cultural Research in conjunction with ECU's summer field school for archaeology students.

Years of digging yielded boxes and boxes of artifacts, including Tuscarora skeletal remains, as well as personal items.             According to their statement, the Tuscarora people are concerned that the area continues to be farmed.

They say that no steps have been taken to section off the site to protect it from further disturbance.            

They have said that they want all of the ancestral remains that are currently being  stored in boxes at ECU to be properly re-interred.

“More Tuscarora lives were lost in the final three days of battle at the fort than at any point during the war,” according to one of the organizers involved with the occupation.                            

“These weren’t just warriors; there were hundreds of women and children and elders who were killed in the siege on Neoheroka.            

“This place is a sacred site to our people and we want it treated as such,” he said.

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Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2006
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