The Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation


The Occaneechi Band is a small Indian community located in North Carolina. It is one of the only First Nation’s in the state to reclaim their ancestral home.

It’s just a beautiful thing when you see all the colors and the people dancing and having a good time. You can just feel the power of the ancestors, especially when you’re dancing and your fringe sort of brushes the ground, sort of like you’re saying hello to your ancestors. When you walk out here, you feel the sacredness of it. You just feel the power. People often say that when they drive through the gates, they feel like that enveloping of love. They feel like they’re being loved.”

Vickie Jeffries

Family ties run very deep in North Carolina. Vickie Jeffries, the tribal administrator, moved back when her Aunt Bunk wrote her a letter asking her to come back, in order to take care of the elders. Jeffries was happy to oblige as she felt it was her calling to be there. Her daughter, Morningstar Caviness also feels it is her responsibility to continue her mothers efforts. “I am a part of it. I love what she’s doing because she’s really brought the tribe back to life. It was thriving but not as well as it is now. When I was in Connecticut I was very into the western world. I wasn’t in touch with my culture.” They both vow to continue the efforts of the women that came before them.

“Without strong women, I don’t think that the Indian culture would be nearly as strong, and certainly not nearly as creative.”

Tony Hayes, tribal chairman

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