Native American Archive Studies Center in Lancaster, SC, Rolls Out New Digital Archive

The Native American Studies Archive at USC Lancaster in Lancaster, SC, announces the launch of the Native American South Carolina Archive (NASCA), a comprehensive digital archive for tribal histories, photos, correspondence, oral histories, and more. A collaboration between the Archive, the USC University Libraries Digital Collections, and the USC Institute for Southern Studies, NASCA is funded by an ASPIRE grant from the USC Office of the Vice President for Research.

Launching Tuesday, Jan. 16, NASCA will provide resources for studying Native American culture and will highlight the important role Native South Carolinians have played in our state’s history and prehistory.

Edisto Assistant Chief Frank Pye and his granddaughter at a Chicora powwow in Horry County. Photo by Gene Crediford.

The site focuses on three eras in our state’s history: Prehistoric South Carolina, Reconstruction-era to late 19th Century South Carolina, and late 20th Century to early 21st Century South Carolina.

Including information from these eras, the site contains digitized letters dating back to 1759 from the SC Department of Archives and History’s Governor’s Correspondence File, several hours of transcribed interviews from various tribal leaders and elders, an interactive map highlighting Native and archaeological points of interest around the state, a timeline of events from the Ice Age 19,000 years ago to events of recent years, and around 167 color and black and white images from photographer and USC Professor Gene Crediford.

NASCA also features histories and banners of the state’s 14 recognized tribes and tribal groups, plus five original short films about Prehistoric South Carolina, with a sixth short video tour of the Native American Studies Center and its location in historic downtown Lancaster’s Cultural Arts District.

In this image by photographer Gene Crediford, an unidentified pair of hands holds a ball of clay.

“There has never been anything like this before in South Carolina,” said Brent Burgin, the Center’s Director of Archives. “We have over 40,000 people in South Carolina who have claimed Native descent since our last Census. Native Americans often have been called an invisible people in this state; it’s very much an underserved community.”

Dr. Matt Simmons, Digital US South Project Coordinator at USC’s Institute for Southern Studies, worked closely with Burgin on digitizing the Center’s Archives, vetting and hiring computer programmers and web designers, and helping faculty members produce digital projects. In addition to providing new resources, Simmons says he hopes the archive also will fill in the gaps of our state’s history and provide context about South Carolina’s Native population.

“More than anything, it’s creating a resource for the people of South Carolina, for K-12 students, but also for the public in general coming to an understanding of Native people: who they are, that they’re still here, and really come to an understanding to get past silly and wrong thinking that they all disappeared after the Yamasee War.”

To access the Native American South Carolina Archive, visit ( For more information about the Native American Studies Center, call 803/313-7172.


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