Santee tribe

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Total population
1600: 3,000
Regions with significant populations
South Carolina, United States
Catawba (Siouan)[citation needed]
Traditional tribal religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Siouan, Cherokee, Creek

The Santee Indian Organization, a remnant tribe, was officially recognized by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs on January 27, 2006. Historically the Santee were a small tribe (est. at a population of 3000 around 1600 AD), speaking a Siouan language[citation needed] and centered in the area of the present town of Santee, South Carolina. Their settlement was along the Santee River, since dammed and called Lake Marion.


Historically, the great majority of various Siouan-speaking tribes were found in the Great Plains states, where they had migrated and settled before European contact.

Some Siouan-speaking tribes also inhabited territory in present-day Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. It is possible that some Upper South areas, such as the Big Sandy or Sandy rivers of Carolina and East Kentucky, were named for the Santee tribe. The English translations of Indian words was often lacking, and errors were and are common. The Santee have Lower Town connections to the Lower Town Cherokee and the Creek people, due to the westward movement of such American Indian groups during the Colonial Conguest era.

Native American mound next to Lake Marion (formerly Santee River), South Carolina is thought to be the easternmost expression of the Mississippian culture's moundbuilding.

An earthwork mound believed to have been constructed by the Mississippian culture (1000-1500 AD) stands on the shore of Lake Marion. This structure was likely built by prehistoric indigenous peoples of the area, before the coalescence of the Santee as a tribe. The mound was probably used for the burial of a chief or shaman. Historically the Santee spoke Catawba.[citation needed]

The Santee Indian Mound near Summerton, South Carolina was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.[1]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.