Chief Harold Hatcher of the Waccamaw Indian People, a small tribe of Native Americans indigenous to South Carolina, has been leading a battle against what he calls “documentary genocide,” actions by powerful politicians that he believes have served to deny his people many of their rights.
He’s been waging a battle to convince the federal government to recognize the Waccamaws as an official Indian tribe, something the state of South Carolina did several years ago. But documentation requirements make this virtually impossible.
The result is that the Waccamaws are unable to benefit from many of the same rights accorded to federal recognized tribes, including such basic things as religious practices and even the ability to profit from the sale of jewelry that they make.
In this podcast from NFN Radio News, Chief Hatcher talks about what it was like growing up in the South as an Indian, neither White nor Black, the ongoing fight for recognition, and about some of his tribe’s most important traditions and religious practices.
Chief Hatcher also discusses what he considers a "last resort" option: filing suit against the federal government for return of all South Carolina land that was once inhabited by Natives but was confiscated by the government and given to White settlers. Such a tactic could prove costly and damaging to the state and its residents, Hatcher acknowledges, but he suggested it might be the only way to achieve federal recognition and the rights he believes his people do not have today.
Take a listen to “Fighting Against Documentry Genocide” with Waccamaw Indian Chief Harold "Buster" Hatcher.