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View the New Waccamaw Documentary

"Americans Before America" is a new 30-minute documentary video created to support the drive by the Waccamaw Indian People to gain recognition by the federal government as an official Indian tribe.

The documentary was supported, in part, by a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission and a Go Fund Me campaign that included contributions from numerous Not Fake News readers. It was produced, written and narrated by Robert Gatty and directed and edited by award winning videographer David Hinshaw.

The video traces the history of the Waccamaws, from 1689 when the first Waccamaw is noted in history. European explorers later came ashore and enslaved many natives, taking over their land. Now, descendants of those indigent people continue to fight for recognition by the American government.

"It's as if they are invisible, like they don't even exist," the narrator says.

Although the Waccamaw Indian People were recognized in 2005 by the State of South Carolina as an official Indian tribe, the U.S. Government will not accept the same documentation to provide federal recognition. Instead, the government requires that the Waccawmaws show unbroken lineage from the earliest known Waccamaw until today. It is a burden that is impossible to meet, as the video explains.

"We call it documentary genocide," says Chief Harold Hatcher.

One of the unfair results of the refusal of the federal government to recognize them is their inability to practice religion as they choose. Many of their ancestors' remains are housed in boxes on museum shelves in South Carolina and cannot be given proper burial, including using an eagle feather, as their rituals require.

"All over South Carolina there are over 600 sets of Indian remains on shelves in museums. These are my ancestors...that now belong to the federal government for some reason and the federal government does not want to release those remains to a state recognized tribe," explains Chief Hatcher. "Cardboard boxes have become the burial shrouds and museum shelves the resting place for our Waccamaw ancestors."

Appearing on the video is Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC-7), who at the urging of Chief Hatcher sponsored legislation to give the Waccamaw Indian People federal recognition. However, he is not hopeful that it will be approved and signed into law.

Also appearing are students from Coastal Carolina University and their professor, Dr. Carolyn Dillian, who have been supporting the Waccamaw Indian People in their drive for recognition.

"The world is not mine and yours," says Chief Hatcher. "It actually belongs to our kids. We have to maintain it and give it to them. And they have to do it for their kids."

A groundswell of support is needed if Congressman Rice's bill to give the Waccamaw Indian People federal recognition is to pass. You can contact the Congressman to express your support here, and you can urge President Biden to intervene with the Bureau of Indian Affairs by emailing him here.

To all those who supported this film, we express our heartfelt appreciation. Thank you.

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