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For the unincorporated community, see Meherrin, Virginia. For the river, see Meherrin River.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Virginia, North Carolina
English, formerly Iroquoian Meherrin
Christianity, Longhouse Religion
Related ethnic groups
Tuscarora Nation, Nottaway Tribe, Coree Indians

The Meherrin Nation is one of eight state-recognized Nations of Native Americans in North Carolina. They reside in rural northeastern North Carolina, near the river of the same name on the Virginia-North Carolina border. They received formal state recognition in 1986. The Meherrin have an enrollment of 900+ people.[1]

The Meherrin are part of the Iroquoian-language Native Americans. They are related to the Tuscarora, who were a neighboring tribe in historic times that migrated north to New York in the early 18th century, and the nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, historically based in New York. Originally inhabiting the Piedmont region of Virginia above the fall line, the Meherrin moved south into North Carolina in the early 18th century to evade encroachment by Anglo-American colonists. Linguistic evidence indicates that the Meherrin share common ancestry with the Tuscarora and Nottoway, and likely spoke the same language or a similar dialect. Common origins are also indicated in Tuscarora oral history.[2]

By 1706 they had resettled on lands previously occupied by the Chowanoke near the mouth of the Meherrin River.[3] In 1711–1712 they were allies of the Tuscarora during the Tuscarora War. After most of the Tuscarora left the colony, the Meherrin reservation was confirmed as theirs by treaty with the North Carolina Colony in 1726.[1]

Meherrins remained in distinct communities through the 19th and 20th centuries, maintaining their own schools and churches. In 1975, Meherrin descendants reorganized the tribe and reclaimed its identity under Chief Wayne Brown. It became chartered in 1977 after increasing activism by members. They were recognized by the state in 1986. Many Meherrin can trace their ancestry to Sally M. Lewis (1838–1904), who sold several tracts of reservation land.

The Meherrin tribal seat is Winton, North Carolina. The Nation's residents principally reside in and around the "Little California/Pleasant Plains/Union" area of Hertford County, North Carolina. They work in a wide variety of professional fields, as a high proportion of the tribe have college degrees compared to the general population in the county.[1]

Meherrin is the name of a small village in Southside Virginia.


  1. ^ a b c Brenda Linton and Leslie S. Stewart, "Economic Development Assessment for the Meherrin Tribe", University of North Carolina, Jul 2003. Accessed: October 26, 2009
  2. ^ Rudes, Blair A. Cowinchahawkon/ Akawęč?á:ka:?: The Meherrin in the Nineteenth Century. Algonquin and Iroquoian Linguistics. 6 (3) p. 32-34. London, Ontario
  3. ^ Meherrin Nation official website. Accessed: October 26, 2009