Brandon Locklear, though born in Robinson (Lumberton County) has lived in Clinton (Sampson County) most of his life. Brandon’s father is a Coharie Indian while his mother is Lumbee Indian. Though Brandon has a tribal card affiliated with the Lumbee Indian tribe he has grown up a part of the Coharie tribal community. In the past year he has taken on a leadership role in the efforts to “make the [Great Coharie Creek] flow again”. Brandon is also a member of the Coharie tribe’s drum circle – Smoky River. Brandon also dances at Powwows in both traditional and prairie chicken styles. Although the Coharie Creek was not a major part of his own childhood, Brandon now views the revitalization of the creek as a way to strengthen the communal bonds with in the Coharie community. In this way Brandon also believes that the tribe shares a unique connection with the creek.
On Growing up Coharie
One of the main things that Brandon emphasized about growing up Coharie was the love – the fellowship – felt between himself and other members of the tribe. Brandon mentions Powwow, drumming, and dancing as important communal events/activities. Aside from these event/activities though, Brandon expressed that his experience growing up was not that different from what other children growing up in Sampson County experienced.
“Nah it was all the same. No difference you know with county schools and city schools we all still stayed as a pack. Powwow would bring you all together and you know festivities. You know but you know this river thing us wanting to do this river thing could really bring the community together and make you know tight family.”
“Growing up is just – everyone looked out for everyone and its like that southern hospitality. You grow up and a lot of us would give the shirt off our back to help each other. If I had it you had it we all just went out of our way to help each other. We all just learned to help. It was the way we were raised and you know to live off the earth. You know we still try to do as our ancestors did way back in time.”
On the River
Although it was the generation before Brandon’s that had more experience and memories with the Coharie River, Brandon expressed gratitude and some wonderment over his new involvement in restoring the creek. Brandon viewed restoring the river as a way to increase the sense of community amongst tribal members as well as between the Coharie tribe and visitors to the creek.
“I can tell there is that tight bond between them and that river. It’s almost like have a lost soul there you know so they want that back. So you know I just think its very important for them to get – to have that back even though they might not live long enough to enjoy it and see it done at least their grandkids, their children’s children get to enjoy that.”
“Yeah to know that that’s my little bit of history that I’m putting in there to be able to make this flow. Make the river flow again that was our goal.”
“Our drum group, which is Smoky River, we’re the drum group that represents that Coharie people. Usually it’s us guys that go down there – Greg, Mr. Philip—so us going down there, we’re like a—we’re brothers.”
“I hope to know that in the future that – I feel like the Coharie River can bring the Coharie closer together and not just the Coharie people but I believe in my heart and faith that it will bring all tribes together as one and a place of meet, a place of fellowship, an attraction, something for us to do … somewhere to go hangout, somewhere to take our friends, to take our children just you know.”
“I just think it would be amazing to be able to have that attraction here and just not as an attraction but make money or anything like that but hey you’re teaching at the same time. You’re showing a part of history that was lost and you’re bringing it back so we can show our youth … hey this is how our parents their parents was raised.”