Manataka American Indian Council







The Saponi people are originally of Siouan stock (speaking a dialect of the Sioux language) and lived in on the east coast in the Virginia/North Carolina Piedmont area.

In 1714 Governor Spotswood built "Trading Fort Christanna" in agreement to a Treaty, here the sons and daughters of the Chiefs were held for insurance (hostage) against hostility.  This is where the Saponi people learned to read, write and accepted Christian names.  Eventually the fort was abandoned by the Europeans and inhabited only by the Saponi people.  Later, the six mile diameter reservation was abolished colonists.   Forced off their own land, the Saponi received permission in 1733 to move on the Tuscarora reservation

A peace treaty was signed between the Iroquois and the Saponi. In 1742, Saponi Chief Mahenip was in court for "slashing and burning" the forest, a tradition our people have proudly kept for centuries.

European encroachment, disease, war and disenfranchisement forced the Saponi people west to their prior home on the New River of "then" Botetourt/Grayson county Virginia and Wilkes county North Carolina. By the late 1700s, many Saponi were again forced from their homes. Migration into Tennessee and Kentucky and then into Indiana took place in 25 years.

The Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830.  By the 1840's most of our people had removed themselves to the Ozark Mountains west of the Mississippi. This area has been identified as an "escape point" for many Indians Nations that was removed on the Trail of Tears. The Seneca which came through Indiana in 1832 lost twenty-five to thirty percent of their people by the time they reached Neosho Missouri. The Cherokee, being the largest Nation removed, lost the most people. Many, many other tribes were removed during this time. It was truly a "Trail of Tears" for all.

By John of the Saponi Nation

The descendants of the Saponi people established a website for your pleasure.   



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