Allion Goodman is one of the oldest living members of the Coharie tribe. She has lived in Sampson County, NC all her life, and remembers the river mostly from her childhood days. She closely associates the river with food and community, and remembers how often they would fry fish from the river when she was a child. She wants the river to make it back to a point where it can be a destination for community events and a supplemental source of food for the Coharie people. The deep relationship she has with her culture propels her wishes.


On Growing Up Coharie

“I remember my daddy and my uncles and all they’d go down and they’d get them fish and come back and they’d have them in a bucket. A five-gallon bucket. And bring them back, and they’d be leaving them right on there, and we’d say ‘Daddy, you can’t, are we gonna eat them?’ Because we didn’t want to eat them, we wanted to play with them. We played, you know we loved them anyway but we didn’t want to get rid of them, we wanted to keep them so we could play with them.”

On Being Coharie

“Well it was a wonderful place to be and everyone’s happy, we all neighbors. And you know, I mean no matter who you are, you’re one of us.”

“…We always loved each other. And you know, a different kind of love that a lot of people say they’ve never experienced.”

“Well they should know when we was growing up it was rough, you know, we didn’t have a lot of stuff and all, I just appreciate being here, and you know, people…it’s just like one big family.” 

On The River

“Well, when I was growing up, that’s where we eat from a lot. They’d go down and fish and they’d come back and we’d have neighbors over and we’d fry the fish and eat and laugh and just have a good time. And they’d clean ‘em you know, and they’d say ‘we’re going to get us some fish for supper!’ and they’d go out and get the fish. Knowing that they could just go out and get some fish, whereas now, younger people don’t do that. They go to town and buy it and bring it down.”

On the Future

“Yeah, I think [the river] should be, you know, reestablished so we could go down and maybe have picnics or maybe have get-togethers. And get back what we can fish some more and have fish fries and you know, just enjoy life.”