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South Carolina Passes Native American Awareness Day

South Carolina House of Representatives officially designated November 18 as Native American Awareness Day, which was recognized June 13.

During a small ceremony on June 13, 2013, in front of the Cherokee County South Carolina Court House, a long overdue milestone in Indian Country was realized. Earlier this legislative session, South Carolina House of Representatives Dennis Moss and Steve Moss introduced H. 3746 officially designating November 18th as Native American Awareness Day in South Carolina.

The bill not only recognizes the many contributions by Native people, but also charges the South Carolina Commission of Minority Affairs to actively work with and for the Native people of South Carolina.

The framed document, as well as the American, and South Carolina state flags, both of which flew over the South Carolina State House, were presented to Katherine T. James, Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois and United Tribes of South Carolina. For more than fifty years she has traced the genealogical path of the Gibson, Collins, Goins, Sexton, and other families to Hancock County, Tennessee and the Patriarch, Vardy Collins. Her past work has helped many in Indian Country and she continues today with the same diligence as when she first began.

Tangentially to James’ work, Dr. Will Moreau Goins, CEO of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois, and United Tribes of South Carolina, has worked as an activist for promoting education, history, culture, and the arts of Native people. Goins has helped in organizing many of the Native people in South Carolina as well as serving on numerous boards representing Native people. Goins organized and still serves as CEO of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois, and United Tribes of South Carolina.

Both Representatives Dennis Moss and Steve Moss continue their work in the interest of Native people in South Carolina. The event was covered in the local newspapers, including the Gaffney Ledger and the Cherokee Chronicle.

Wado Mrs. James, Dr. Goins, and Representatives Dennis and Steve Moss.

Dr. William B. James Jr., Ph.D., is a member of the Eastern Cherokee, Southern Iroquois, and United Tribes of South Carolina. He has been an educator for 35 years, beginning as a biology teacher, and later becoming a principal. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Wofford College, a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Katherine T. James is his mother.