Meherrin Indian Nation
About Meherrin Indian Nation
The Meherrin Nation is a state-recognized nation of Indians in North Carolina. To this day, the Tribe has remained in small communities near the North Carolina and Virginia border, primarily in Hertford County, NC. Meherrin people refer to themselves as Kauwets’a:ka, meaning “People of the Water.” They are an Iroquois nation-close relatives of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) with whom they share deep historical and cultural ties. Please explore their website and learn about their rich culture and unique history!
Meherrin Indian Nation HNNC Supported Initiatives
- Renovate Tribe’s kitchen for sustainable year round activities
The kitchen is vital to the Meherrin people in the preparation of healthy foods during the monthly meetings as well as monthly ceremonies. The kitchen will be used to have classes to teach various methods of preserving Native foods, such as canning and sun drying fruit, vegetables and fresh fish. With a kitchen renovation, it will be the first step in the Meherrin community becoming sovereign in protecting the heritage of the traditional ways of preparing foods to prevent obesity and other diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure which is associated with the high intake of carbohydrates. From a culture stand point, the kitchen is vital in helping to prepare the foods that are required in some of the Tribe’s monthly ceremonies such as the Strawberry Ceremony held in the month of June. This activity requires fleshly prepared strawberries that are smashed into a juice drink that is served over a period of approximately three hours of dancing in the sacred circle. In the month of May, there is the Herring Fish ceremony where freshly caught herring fish are prepared and served after dancing. Thus, a renovated kitchen will be a sustainable community change that will allow the Tribe to preserve their cultural traditions rooted in preparing and eating healthy foods for the monthly ceremonies.
Before HNNC supported renovations
Pictures above illustrate HNNC supported renovations to our community kitchen and showcase many of the community members who volunteered their time and talents to create our new space!
Pictures above illustrate our new community kitchen!
- Create a sustainable community garden
Meherrin will plant, grow, and till a community garden of Native plants for community consumption and sell at the Meherrin Farmers’ Market on the tribal grounds. The market will be opened on Saturdays during the growing seasons. Meherrin also plans to use naturally grown plants to educate the community on the preparation and consumption of healthy foods.
Pictures above showcase the growth of our community garden and fruit trees!
- Create trail around Tribal Pond to provide access for physical activities such as walking and running.
Meherrin is working on creating a walking trail that will provide a lasting, sustainable environmental change to the tribal grounds, in which community members will have access to physical activity. Not only will the trail promote and engage community members to participate in the physical activities, but the trail will also help to educate the community of the history and culture of the Meherrin people. Fruit trees will be planted in gardens along the trail and plaques will be posted on the trees for identification purposes.
Meherrin Indian Nation HNNC Partners & Collaborators
- North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs
- American Indian Center and Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- Dr. Ronny Bell, Wake Forest School of Medicine Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity
- Dr. Nancy Winterbauer, East Carolina University and her public health evaluation class
- Just Save Foods
- Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe Farmers’ Market (Karen Harley)
Meherrin Indian Nation Contact Information
Meherrin Indian Nation
PO Box 274
Ahoskie, NC 27986
Chief Wayne Brown