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Forum Home > Chowanoke History > Roanoke Island parks

Marvin T Jones
Posts: 7

Carolina Genesis - Beyond the Color Line, the book in which I have chapter, has helped me open doors: two of the latest being the Fort Raleigh National Park and the Roanoke Island Festival Park (NC State). 

My key pitch to the program program at both places is that I am descended from people the English met during the expeditions.  It would be difficult to find people who are clearly aware of being distinctly descended from the Roanokes, CroatansSecotans, Weapamocs, Neusioks and Moratocs.  This is not so in the case of the Chowanokes.

On Memorial Day weekend In May, I was taken to an archeaological dig less than 100 yards from the earthworks that are believed to be Fort Raleigh itself.  They were studying the remnants of a trench (photographs to be posted later).  I told that I was there not to tell them anything they already knew about the time of th expeditions, but that I wanted them to know that people knowingly descended from that time exist and what we became - I left a copy of the book.

While they worked I learned about their methods and goals.  One of them was knew about Parker Robbins, a multi-talented relative of mine who was an Union Army Sgt.-Major, state legislator, inventor among many other things. 

After that, I dropped by the visitor's center at the NC state Roanoke Island Festival Park and met Mary Ellen Riddle.  There, I gave her the same story and a book with hopes that I'll get to present there someday.

Last month, I visited both parks while on vacation.  At the Ft. Raleigh Park, I was told that my visit was meaningful to the archeaologists since they never met a descendant from any of the Carolina Algonquians.  I stopped by the dig site just to see how they covered it up - other digs will commence in November.

At the Festival Park, I saw the Algonquian village exhibit that was opened last year.  A lot learned from Thomas Harriot records and John White's drawings was evident.  There I saw long houses, a garden with a shelter used by boys to guard the crops from birds and varmints, a partially made dugout canoe.  I picked up one of the oyster shells in the canoe and scraped out woord just like the ancestors once did.

A circle of totem poles is part of the display, and they are similar to the one in John White's drawing.  I was delighted to see it.

The two long houses had displays about the language, foods and tools.


The greatest surprise in the Visitor's Center is the film, "The Legend of Two Path" a fictional story based on the events of 1585-1586 in Ossomocomuck - now coastal North Carolina.  Two Path is an old man who is telling his grandson a story about the time of the English.  The hero of his story is Skyco, who as we all know, was the son of Menatonon.  Skyco aids and befriends Manteo and Wanchese when the two are ambushed by Neusioks.

The movie goes along with what is told in the book,The Head In Edward Nugent's Hand, that Manteo was pro-English and Wanchese was anti-.  In the movie, when the two men are fighting to the death, Skyco steps in and charges that they have to embrace much of the changes that are coming but also maintain their community.

The movie's moral goes goes with the path the remaining Chowanokes took to survive.  However, for many of the Algonquians, it didn't matter which path was taken - extinction came regardless.

We would deduce that the opening scene is in the Bennett's Creek reservation

where Two Path lives.  There are scenes at Chowanoke.  I was totally moved to be surprised to see a film (fiction or not) where a relative of mine, Skyco, is the hero.  I will send links for the movie.  What a visit I had!


September 9, 2010 at 10:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 50

Thanks, Marvin! I didn't know all that was there, can't wait to plan a trip myself. Do you know if there are copies of that movie available anywhere?

September 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Marvin T Jones
Posts: 7

I ask my contact there.  In the meantime you may be able to watch it online.   I haven't tried this link out.  The movie is about 45 minutes.


September 12, 2010 at 5:23 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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