The Yamassee tribe was critical to the formation of the Lowcountry, but very few people know their story.
Now one developer is doing his part to preserve the past, on land he owns, which was once belonged to them.
The Chief of the Yamassee tribe. A representative from Senator Tim Scott’s office. Archeologists, homeowners, and developers all at the same table. All connected for one goal, protecting history while developing the future.
“It’s really for us a thing of respect,” said Chief Sekhu Hadjo. “We are being given respect and we are being honored as well by the Bull Point Association and its members.”
The History of the Yamassee Tribe:
The meeting is the first of its kind, and it comes after 13,000 different artifacts were found inside Bull Point Plantation over the years, all belonging to the Yamassee tribe.
“Knowing that there were artifacts here that were uncovered its important to make sure we showcase the history not just bury it in the past,” said Billy Gavigan, Developer of Bull Point Plantation.
It was once a trading ground and a ceremonial gathering place for the Tribe. Several spots within the Seabrook development were already declared historic.
Billy Gavigan is the area’s new developer. He wants to respect all the area’s history, and the tribe, as he builds.
“A lot of tribes have not been included in these types of meetings,” says the Chief. “and it creates a disruption because when you basically say hey we have no respect for your ancestors, we have no respect for your ceremonial practices. How would you as an American or anyone else feel about that?”
“There’s a way to showcase the history and bring it forward and to have economic prosperity with it,” says Gavigan.
Homes have been built on or near those sacred grounds in the past. The goal is to build a better future through a partnership, tribe, and developer together.
“It doesn’t have to be a situation where you hide or be manipulative when you run across Native American artifacts or anything that pertains to Native American people,” explains Chief Hadjo. “Or think that’s going to stop or halt your particular project. There are those of us who accept and understand that those artifacts that you find are found for a reason.”
“Hopefully this sets the model for the state and some fo the federal delegates to understand we have a history and how to bring it forward together,” says Gavigan.
This is the first of several meetings between the tribe, the developer and the people who live in Bull Point Plantation itself.
The goal is to come to an agreement on how to protect lands and artifacts inside the Plantation, and outside, they hope to build a Cultural Events Center so everyone can understand the history and tradition of the Yamasee tribe.