What is the Yamassee Nation?

Chief Se'khu Hadjo Gentle of the Yamassee Nation
Chief Se'khu Hadjo Gentle of the Yamassee Nation(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 2, 2017 at 11:02 AM EDT
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Friday, June 2, 2017

ALLENDALE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The tribal marshal of an Indian reservation near a local town was shot and killed on Thursday night. He was a member of the Yamassee Nation.

You may be asking what the Yamassee Nation is, so here is a brief history of the Yamassee.

The early history of the Yamassee is not well known, but they are said to have been descendants of Native Americans and slaves and are primarily found in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

The Yamassee are described as a "very hard-working Gentle people that attempted and succeeded in sharing their knowledge of life, farming and strategies for battle."

Part of their history is the Yamassee War of 1715, that they describe as history's bloodiest war. They tell the story of unfair trade practices and land encroachments by European settlers that violated a law that forced them into war. At least 400 South Carolina settlers died when the war started, and more would ultimately perish by the late 1800s.

History claims that more than 15,000 Yamassee Indians and support from other Indians in the region stormed the state, almost destroying the European colony.

From the war, many new tribal designations were formed. The Yamassee claim that more commonly known groups like the Seminole are descendants of the Yamassee.

Yamassee Indians are considered to be the following: Altamaha, Pocotaligo, Salkehatchie, Hitchiti (now known as Mikisuki) , Oconee, Cusabo, Guale, Yuchi, Tomatly, Jamassi, Americario, Okeete, Chechesee, Tama.

While many history books claim the Yamassee tribe is extinct, the Yamassee Nation says the federal government still classifies them as a living people.

Their history states that when the South Carolina slave code was introduced around the time of the Civil War, many Yamassee were forced into slavery and their classification was changed from Indian to Negro or Mulatto, and they were coined as the "Negro Indians."