Preserving the Land, History & Legacy of Those Who Came Before Us

Indigenous Memories is a United States tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization registered under EIN: 84-4933208. Our mission is to bring attention to the lives of numerous Indigenous, Maroon, Slave, and Free People of Color who occupied land along the Historic Indian Trading Path in Orange County, North Carolina. We maintain sacred burial spaces where these individuals and their descendants are interred. Sacred burial spaces include several likely ancient Indigenous burial mounds, disrupted burial mounds, a Maroon cemetery where Indigenous and Free People of Color are buried in the same space, and the Hardscrabble Slave Cemetery.

We offer historical hikes and storytelling to increase understanding of hardships Free People of Color faced daily during the 18th and 19th centuries. Hikes include a visit our Indigenous mounds, our Maroon cemetery, and our historical timeline fence. Following a hike, attendees listen to stories and observe visual aids describing the lives of descendants of the Saponi Nation. Attendees learn the following: (1) the history of Maroon communities and how they operated; (2) how the system of apprenticeship dismantled Families of Color; (3) how, despite laws enacted to remove them from Virginia and North Carolina, Free People of Color managed to remain on their land while engaging in Freedom Work-assisting slaves. Participants will leave with knowledge of a group of people who have been ignored in the annals of history, and how their contributions to society allow all to live in relative peace and freedom today.
  • Preserve and maintain Indigenous ceremonial & burial mounds
  • Preserve and maintain Black cemeteries
  • Assist in identifying Indigenous mounds
  • Assist in identifying Black cemeteries
  • Assist in documenting Indigenous mounds and Black cemeteries and reporting to the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
  • Provide education and consultation for identifying Indigenous mounds and Black cemeteries
  • Host educational hikes to Indigenous mounds and Maroon (triracial) burial spaces located near the Historic Indian Trading Path
  • Share the history of Maroon people living in the area of the Historic Indian Trading Path and their struggle to avoid slavery and assist in freeing slaves
  • Share the little known history of intersections of Stagville, Hardscrabble, and Whitted work camps.

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Yolanda Scarlett
Beverly Scarlett
Jacqueline Scarlett
Teresa Whitted Moore
Maureen Scarlette
Gayzelle Chavis
Our journey discrediting the theory that cairns located in our area are farmer's rock piles has not been easy. So, we've looked at similarities among the mounds.
1) Location: we are near the historic Indian Trading Path & between bodies of water.
2) Shape: our cairns tend to be oval or conical.
3) Intentional placement of stones: stones placed in a vertical position or wedged between other stones are visible.
4) Proximity to other cairns: Cairns of seven or eight have be observed in a circle or rectangle.
5) Terrain: cairns found along a hillside where it would be difficult to farm.
6) Lack of spillage: stones are neatly arranged without spillage from dumping or pouring.
7) Base stones: Cairns have boulders at its base to maintain the structure.
8) Proximity to artifacts: arrowheads, tomahawks, and a stone axe have been located nearby.
9) Historical record: mounds have been documented in various historical records of North Carolina.
Top view of a disrupted mound. Rock was placed vertically during construction.
An example of an oval shaped mound with a large boulder on top. We have not found large trees growing in the center of mound. This is likely due to the close placement of stones during construction.

Donation Amount

  • Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States