Carolina - The Native Americans

The Santee Indians

The Santee were named, according to Speck (1935), from iswan'ti, "the river," or "the river is there." Also called Seretee, by Lawson.

No words of the Santee language have come down to us, but there is little doubt that they belonged to the Siouan linguistic family.

The Santee Indians primarly lived on the middle course of Santee River in present-day South Carolina.

Villages: The only name preserved is Hickerau, on a branch of Santee River.

The Santee were first encountered by the Spaniards during the seventeenth century, and in the narrative of his second expedition Captain Eçija places them on Santee River.

In 1700, they were visited by John Lawson, who found their plantations extending for many miles along the river, and learned that they were at war with the coast people.

They furnished Colonel John Barnwell with a contingent for his Tuscarora campaign in 1711-12, but are said to have taken part against the whites in the Yamasee War of 1715.

In 1716, the Santee were attacked by the Etiwaw and Cusabo tribes, acting in the interest of the colonists, and the greater part of them were carried away captive and sent to the West Indies. The remainder were probably incorporated with the Catawba.

The number of Santee was estimated by Mooney (1928) at 1,000 in 1600.

In 1715, an Indian census gave them 43 warriors and a total population of 80 to 85 in two villages.

The name Santee has been given permanency chiefly by its application to the Santee River, but it has also been applied to a village in Orangeburg County, SC.


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