Catechna Indian Village
Catechna Indian Village, on the
banks of Contentnea Creek at Grifton, N.C., is a scaled-down replica of
an Indian village located just across the street from the Grifton
Museum. During annual festivals like John Lawson Days, volunteers use
the site to demonstrate lifestyle skills of the Native Americans who
lived here. The precise location of the actual Catechna village,
inhabitated by the Tuscaroras in the 1600-1700s, is unknown but the
many prehistoric and later artifacts found here indicate that it was
very near this site.
Catechna Village Layout
A "short version" of a longhouse (a long, bark-covered, round-topped
communal structure sectioned into family compartments) illustrates
living conditions. A fire-pit area shows where ceremonies and
social and governing activities took place. A work shed contains the
necessities for grinding corn and other chores of daily needs. During
the growing season, the small garden grows corn, beans, gourds and other
important crops. The village is surrounded by a palisade of cut, pointed
logs set upright for protection from animals and human invaders.
The Tuscarora Indians are known to have lived along the Neuse, Tar,
Pamlico and Roanoke Rivers and Contentnea Creek, here at Grifton.
(Contentnea is thought to be an Anglicized version of the Native name
Catechna.) As settlers moved in, complicated relationships between
neighboring tribes, settlers and officials developed. In fact, the
fascinating "politics" of the time could easily rival those of today. Catechna Village and other Tuscarora territory was described in detail
by North Carolina's first Surveyor
General, John Lawson. Lawson was a dedicated
student and supporter of the Tuscarora Indians. Ironically, he was
brutally executed due to what may have been a horrific misunderstanding.
Learn more about the Tuscaroras, John Lawson and this important part of
North Carolina's history when you visit the Historical Museum and Indian
Village of Grifton, NC. Call for an appointment and tour or visit
during the days and hours shown at right.
See our online store for books, maps and other materials that will add
to your knowledge and understanding of North Carolina's history.