Clemson International Institute for Tourism Research & Development

SC Native Pathways

This site is designed to provide information about Native American heritage and historic sites available to tourists in South Carolina. The target audiences are South Carolina visitors, tourism industry professionals and organizations, and tourism researchers. The site represents a collaboration between the ESCUIT of South Carolina and the Clemson International Institute for Tourism Research and Development.

The goal is to provide information about the historical and current presence of Native Americans in South Carolina. One objective is to aid tourism development planning at the state, regional and community level Another objective is to facilitate trip planning by South Carolina and out-of-state tourists traveling in South Carolina.

Welcome to South Carolina's Native Pathways, Native American Indian places and people!

Native American Indian culture and heritage have charmed visitors to South Carolinafor centuries. For thousands of years prior to European colonization, the rich natural resources of South Carolina were used by indigenous native tribes. At least 29 distinct groups of Native American Indians lived within what is now the state of South Carolina when the first English colony was established in 1670. But the history of the Natives and the Europeans is even older that that in South Carolina.

The first European settlement was at the coast at St Helena's Island in the 1500s. South Carolina was also the state whose native peoples first came into contact with Europeans. The first attempted European settlement in North America was attempted by the French near Parris Island. This site would soon fall and be re-inhabited by the Spanish who would make it the capital of their new territory of La Florida. Both French and Spanish explorers would interact with South Carolina's Native Americans and it is from these encounters that we have our first written historical accounts of civilizations that are today unknown to most people. It is these ignored and unknown parts of South Carolina's history that also needs to be celebrated and interpreted for visitors.

Since that time there have been visitors interested exploring Native Pathways, interested in the authentic Native American Indian experience, interested in meeting the indigenous people of this state, interested in the arts and crafts of these first people of this Palmetto state and interested in the festivals, dances, ceremonies, songs and stories. This legacy includes historic buildings and structures, archaeological sites, monuments and cultural traditions.

In addition, South Carolina is home to some of North America's most impressive prehistoric civilizations and archaeological discoveries. From the 4,000 year old shell ring sites on the coast to the multi-story tall truncated pyramid and burial mounds throughout the state, or the ancient petroglyph of the upstate that tell a Native story in pictures, South Carolina has a variety of these sites second to none. 

From the coast to the mountains, South Carolina State Parks protect some of the most important and interesting Native American sites in the state. We have a lot of scenic areas and festivals. It is our plan that, by designating roads, historic areas, and Native sites and locations and marketing them at the state and national level, we can promote SC tribal communities, tourism and the Native American Indian traditional artists that reside throughout South Carolina.

The primary goal of this project is celebrate the Native American Indian heritage, and to lessen the poverty and unemployment among the Native American Indian people of South Carolina tribes, groups and traditional artists, by providing them with an opportunity to tell their story through heritage tourism opportunities and opportunities to sell their native arts and crafts.

This website provides a central information source for potential visitors looking for the authentic Native American Indian experience, as a part of their visit to South Carolina. This project will include the the publication of a, "VISITORS GUIDE," telling our stories and highlighting all Native American Indian significant sites, monuments, historic markers, and historic properties, heritage events and annual powwows.  <learn more about the SC Native Pathways purpose>

Consider South Carolina's Native American Indian heritage sites as the destination for your next vacation, family reunion or corporate retreat. Our indigenous history, culture and heritage activities and regional areas provide the perfect setting for getting back to nature, renewing family ties, and restoring the corporate soul.

There are now more reasons to discover SC Native Paths. Whether you're a visitor or a life-long-learner, there's something for everyone on the SC Indian Country. Visit South Carolina Indian Country to discover the many important sites that this southern state has to offer. 

Dr. Will Moreau Goins
Project Director