Sea Island Shoreline

Disya Who WEBE!

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The Gullah/Geechees came together to declare themselves as a nation on July 2, 2000 with international observers and media present.

De Gullah/Geechee Nation Map

The Gullah/Geechee Nation exist from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL.  It encompasses all of the Sea Islands and thirty to thirty-five miles inland to the St. John’s River.  On these islands, people from numerous African ethnic groups linked with indigenous Americans and created the unique Gullah language and traditions from which later came “Geechee.”   The Gullah/Geechee people have been considered “a nation within a nation” from the time of chattel enslavement in the United States until they officially became an internationally recognized nation on July 2, 2000.   At the time of their declaration as a nation, they confirmed the election of their first “head pun de boddee”-head of state and official spokesperson and queen mother.  They elected Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com).

www.QueenQuet.com

Queen Quet is the first elected Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

The Gullah/Geechee Nation can be reached at

Gullah/Geechee Nation Headquarters

Post Office Box 1109

St. Helena Island SC 29920

(843) 838-1171 or email GullGeeCo@aol.com

The Gullah/Geechee Nation Declaration states:

Mission

To preserve, protect, and promote our history, culture, language, and homeland and to institute and demand official recognition of the governance (minority) rights necessary to accomplish our mission to take care of our community through collective efforts which will provide a healthy environment, care for the well beings of each person, and economic empowerment.

Goals

As we are the authentic original Gullah/Geechee Nation with direct linkage to our ancestral legacy, we stand as custodians of Gullah/Geechee culture and protectors of our human rights. Henceforth, being the ONLY and TRUE keepers of the Gullah/ Geechee cultural legacy, upon us falls the responsibility to promote in an accurate and positive manner all aspects of Gullah/ Geechee culture by emanating knowledge and healing souls. This process is guided through the release of the full story of the foreparents of Gullah and Geechee ancestral souls and the wisdom of our elders.

WE intend to protect the development and construction of Gullah/Geechee culture through the establishment of appropriate institutions and law by the exercise of our human rights. Presently this is being achieved through and during conferences, workshops, festivals, and other celebrations of culture and the continuation of oral traditions, living history, crafts, skills, and reconnection to the soil. The establishment of this Constitution will guarantee the continuation by the exercise of our minority right to self-determination.

WE will link with organizations, other nations, and institutions that are contributing positively to the cultivation of our nation.insuring that those connections are carried out with dignity and honor.

In the tradition of our foreparents we will record in written form OURSTORY as a living testament to our Gullah/Geechee legacy. We will also broaden our continuum through the use of electronic and video and audio means of documentation. Through the exercise of our human rights, we will be the keepers of this material as we accept the responsibilities of defining ourselves and our ancestors.

WE will preserve, maintain, and reclaim ALL elements of our homeland which will FOREVER be our base of existence as we carry out these goals. With these goals in mind, Gullah/Geechee people take formal recognition of their nation and their human right to self-determination within the context of their minority governance rights, and thereby, the Gullah/Geechee Nation Wisdom Circle Council of Elders, by its hands, spirit and soul undertakes the task of creating and ratifying the first Constitution of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

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The Gullah/Geechee Nation Constitution is 21 pages long.  It is the document of governing principles by which the Wisdom Circle Council of Elders and the Assembly of Representatives operated as the right and left hands of the Head-of-State.

Official flag of the Gullah/Geechee Nation

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation educates about the meaning of the national flag of the Gullah/Geechee Nation:

In order to keep up with the latest information regarding the Gullah/Geechee Nation, please subscribe to our Gullah/Geechee Nation blog or click on the link below to access it, subscribe to our monthly international ezine “De Conch” by emailing the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition at GullGeeCo@aol.com, watch Gullah/Geechee TV Nayshun Nyews and subscribe for FREE on YouTube, and tune in to Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio and subscribe for FREE on iTunes.  All a disya gwine le hunnuh kno who webe fa tru an fa sho!  Ef hunnuh wan buy Gullah/Geechee tings, den gwine ta de Gullah/Geechee Nation’s online store: www.gullahgeechee.ecwid.com or at www.gullahgeechee.biz fa support we!

519 Comments

  1. Morgan Stevenson

    Peace and Blessings Sister! Is there any information about group trips to the island(s) for a group of young students (middle school aged) ? It would be life changing for some of our children to “connect” to the rich culture that is a hidden legacy. Thank you in advance for your presence and purpose….

  2. Catherine Williams-Haynes

    Is it possible to trace regarding a person’s roots originating as a slave from Barbados in the Caribbean and brought to the Carolinas?
    If so how can such process?

    • Peace!

      You should check with the Charleston Public Library’s Carolina Room on Calhoun Street in South Carolina to begin this process.

  3. Natasha Sims

    Shalom, Queen! I am curious if Sims, Joel and Jackson are surnames common in the Gullah Nation, specifically around Charleston. Thanks!

    • Shalom!

      Jackson is the only name that is found here and it is questionable if the name is not from some migrating from inland to the coast. It is not heard a great deal, but it is here unlike the other names. The Sims name we have found amongst Gullah/Geechees in Mississippi though.

  4. Reginald F. Elam

    I’m just curious about the name “Elam” would it happen to be a common name in the Gullah/ Geechee culture. I’m almost sure it was a Surname in the main land.Could you send me tour information because I would like to visit the Islands for some fact finding, for religious and cultural purposes.

  5. Born n raised in Columbia dirty South Carolina
    Know that some of my people are children of the dust
    Love to visit the nation … soon!!!

  6. Irma Robinson

    So happy to be reconnected Gullah Geechee Nation. My email had changed.

  7. Cookie Barney

    I saw a documentary recently about Gullah gentrification. It seems that the nation is in need of lay people to assist. Im available to help in whatever capacity you require. I attended the May festival a number of years ago when it was in Beaufort. I would love to attend another one and even volunteer to help if I can.

  8. John Adoboli

    What was the name of the VICE broadcast? Is there a link available?

  9. Kae

    Hello! I have family in South Carolina and was wondering if any of these surnames were common to the Gullah people : Thrower, Jones, Keitt, or Keampton?

    • Peace!

      Thrower is in Charleston, SC. Jones is in Beaufort County, SC. The other names we are not familiar with.

      • Kenya

        I have family in South Carolina, are Bowman, Tull, Roberts or Dixon common surnames among the GeeChee?

      • Peace!

        There is a Bowman, SC, but none of these names are very common. We have seen Dixon and Roberts living on the coast, but many of them migrated to the coast from inland.

  10. Cheryl

    hello I am contacting you because my great-grandfather last name was Holmes. my grandmother shared that he was teased because of his accent. they said he was a Geechee. he came from up the coast of Florida and he was blessed with a profound gift of wisdom which was inherited to my grandmother and now on to me I am very much interested in connecting with my people please email me my name is Cheryl

    • Peace Cheryl!

      We have a LOT of members of the Holmes Family up and down the Gullah/Geechee Nation! What part of Florida was your grandmother from exactly? Also, were they SC or GA folks that moved to FL?

      We pray that you and the family come to the “Gullah/Geechee Reunion” and reunite with other Holmes there! Gwine ta http://www.gullahgeechee.info.

      Peace!

  11. Khocolate

    Are Bowman, Tull, Dixon or Roberts common names among the GeeChee?

    • Peace!

      There is an area named Bowman, SC. However, that is inland SC and not on the coast. Most of these last names are actually inland and not coastal surnames. There are some Dixons in Charleston, SC which is within the Gullah/Geechee Nation though.

  12. Simari

    Hello! My father’s entire family were born in Savannah, GA and I have no clue about their history. Would the surname Young possibly be connected to the Gullah people?

    • Peace!

      Savannah, GA is part of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. Also, there are definitely Gullah/Geechees that are part of the Young Family. Some are in Beaufort County, SC.

    • Luqman

      Did you have any family around the Georgetown/ Andrews, SC area? I’m a descendant of Dave Young and Anne Gore.

  13. Jarrett irby

    Are Irby,or Cherry a common surname?? I am curious as I have heard stories about relatives who are from south Carolina but I am unsure if this is true. Blessings!

    • Peace!

      The Irby name is one family in Beaufort, but we are not sure that they are Gullah/Geechee because that and the Cherry names are not common surnames here.

  14. Ezekiel E Metz

    Please give me some information on how can I obtain a flag and correspondence from GGnation

  15. Leetha

    Are the Pitt or Merrell a common surname?

  16. Mrs. Maxwell

    Was there Nigerian slaves sent to the nation cities during Slavery, I am aware that many were sent to coastal areas of Virginia, and Ga sea islands?

    • Yes, there were Nigerians that were enslaved and brought to the Sea Islands of the Gullah/Geechee Nation which includes the islands in Georgia.

      • Helen Torok

        I am encouraged by this response as for some years I have commented and not received any replies. I have traveled to Nigeria and considers myself a scholar in Black History as it applies to African Americans and my relationship with the country of Nigeria. While in Nigeria in ‘1992’ I was fortunate to research my maiden name and found it ‘ODUM/ODOM/ODOMES, all variations as used by my relatives in Savannah, Florida, and nearby areas.
        My Great-grand-mother was a ‘Thomas, a slave who spoke no English, she did however spoke speak Gullah/dialect and I learned to sing songs at the age of three which amused my family and I still sing them during Black History month in my present home state of Pa. I still would like to know if the names posted here are recognized in a slave museum history there. I know that there are Northern Europeans that uses ‘ODOM’ a shortened, version of a much longer name they had upon arriving in America. My Great Grandmother was married to a Thomas, her maiden name was African..she was a recorded ‘113’ years old when she passed in the early 40’s.. her descents look Nigerian-Asian and Native, it was rumored that she was ‘127’ unrecorded, she received land from Lincoln in the area around Kildare Ga., and it remains in our ‘Thomas’ family extended relatives, some was confiscated by the Railroad. There are other Thomases’ who are confirmed as Gullah /Geechees.
        On my Maternal side, they originated from S.C., and was mostly Mulatto/English/African/Native, the oldest relative I knew from this side was born in ‘1865’ and passed in ‘1963’. Slavery was a limited conversation as many passed for white around Columbia and blended with the upper middle-class/plantation community. Their names are: McWhite,Corley,(Murphy, Boatwright ..most sounded/ spoke Geechee and were slaves/mulattos in S.C. before moving to Savannah, Sylvania , Ga.area.

      • Peace Helen!

        There are two slavery museums in the Gullah/Geechee Nation: “The Slave Relics Museum” in Walterboro, SC and “Old Slave Mart” in downtown Charleston. To our knowledge, these two places do not record such information nor present it. Tenki Tenki fa sharin hunnuh famlee storee.

  17. Elizabeth Shoffner

    My family is from South Carolina our family names are Stephenson (Stevenson), Pinckney, and Orr. They were from Ridgeland, and Tillman SC. Hampton, Roberts, Beaufort and Jasper Counties Is there any information you can give me to start my search. Thank you, Elizabeth.

    • Peace!

      Look for the names of family members on deeds if you all still have property in those areas. Track the birth and death certificates of those family members names at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Most of all, come back to those counties and sit down with the elders of the family to learn more than you can find through papers.

  18. Mrs. Maxwell

    Are Scott, Maxwell, Wright,Bersteiner,Davis, Grant, Walker,Poole, Drayton, Phillips family names among the nation? Thank You!

  19. Joanne Duncan-Carnesciali

    Good morning. I thank you for your attention to my request. My father who has now passed would often tell us he was Gullah Geechee. I am happy to find your website. The slave name that was given to my father’s family is Duncan. He was born on Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. I believe it is the Georgetown area. Would you be willing to tell me whether the name Duncan is familiar to that area. Thank you very much.

    • Peace!

      Duncan is not a large family here. However, Pawley’s Island is part of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and it is definitely in Georgetown County, SC. You can likely find more information about your family by simply contacting Duncans that are still there and also via the SC Department of Archives and History records in Columbia, SC.

  20. Iesha

    My family is from savannah and our family name is Lee do you know some Lee’s????

    • Yes, we do! Some may be at the “Gullah/Geechee Unity in the Community” in Savannah, GA on the third weekend of September in fact. Join us on River Street!

  21. Louise B Barnes

    I was very happy to find information of Gullah Geechee people. My mother passed in 2013 at the age of 94. Is the surname Fleming, Flemming, or McNeil familiar to Gullah Geechee? They are from Chesterfield SC.

    • Peace!

      Chesterfield is in upcountry, SC and is very far from the Gullah/Geechee Nation. Those surnames are not ones that we tend to hear here unless someone moved to the coast with them.

    • DOROTHYFOLDS

      this is a blessing reading about Gullah Geechee nation my father was born in Charleston south Carolina he told me he was a geechee all my life I told people I,m from the people of geechee didn,t no what it mean,t but I was proud to be a geechee watching the video QueenQUET explain the historyof the Gullah Geechee nation with love and I felt her anointing for the nation of Gullah Geechee people . my father relative are from the Carolinas MCNEIL, ,BARRETTS,SINGLETONS,FRAZIERS,SMALLS Charleston area .

    • DOROTHYFOLDS

      TO LOUISE B BARNES MY FATHER WAS BORN IN CHARLESTON, SOUTHCAROLIN HIS NAME SAMUEL MCNEIL 1923 HE HAD TWO SISTERS MABEL 1910 WILHELMINA 1920.DOROTHY MCNEIL FOLDS

    • Dorothy folds

      Hi my farther name is Samuel MC Neil born incharleston, South Carolina 1923 he died in 1983 when Iowa a little girl around eight he told me is a geechee.

  22. Funmilayo Olabintan

    My name is Funmilayo Olabintan from ilaro in Ogun State Nigeria but lived all my life in lagos, I would love to learn about the history of Gullah/Geechee Nation.

  23. Dale Felton

    Shalom Queen!
    My family is native of Beaufort surname is Johnson/Deloach
    Please send me what is necessary to claim by nationality ..

    • My Father is from Beaufort County in S.C. and his surname is Maloney. Please send me what is necessary.

  24. Gabriel Smith

    I just found out I have some ancestors from SC, I haven’t found out what part they are from quite yet. My grandfathers name was Frank Wilkins, he was born in Mississippi and his parents were from SC. Hoping to trace my lineage back to the Geechee Nation cause I love everything about yall

  25. Tina Branch

    Researching my husbands lineage. We were told his third great grandmother was a Geechee by the name Minnie McCraven (McCrann?) born in 1878 in Mississippi. She later united/ married Columbus James. Is there anyway to verify this information and is McCraven a common Geechee surname?

    • Peace!

      McCraven is not a name we are familiar with in the Gullah/Geechee Nation. You would need to conduct research on the migration pattern of the family beginning with the parents of Minnie McCraven to verify information.

  26. Brittany Cook

    My family is originally from SC (though I am not sure what specific area) and I am curious to know if the name Cook (can be spelled Cooke or Cooks) is common surname?

  27. Akwasi Maru

    I have found that some of my grandparents migrated from SC but I don’t know what part. Are the surnames Knight and Thompson common in Gullah/Geechee Nation?

  28. Whitney Roundtree

    Hi, Are the surnames, Alston, Roundtree, Lewis and Medley were surnames common in the Gullah/Geechee Nation? Those are all surnames of my grandparents.

    • Peace!

      Alston is a somewhat common name here, but not the other names. There are some Alstons in Beaufort County, SC and Charleston County, SC for sure.

  29. Felicia Simms

    Hello, My Great-Great Grandma’s name was Mary Jane Goodwine. I don’t have a lot of history on her but Great grandma told me she was a slave whom migrated to Beaufort SC with her husband and daughter…my great grandma. I am so interested in my heritage and want to learn more about it. I was told I still have family living there however I don’t know any names to search for. If you can give me guidance I would reall appreciate your assistance and look forward to hearing from you.

    • Peace Ms. Simms!

      The only name you need ever search for is GOODWINE. That is not a common name and all the Goodwines in Beaufort County, SC are related. We are still here.

      Peace,
      Queen Quet
      Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation

  30. Felicia Simms

    Hello, Please tell me if the surname Goodwine,Simms, Bright and adage s are names associated with the Gullah Geechee community.

    • Peace!

      Goodwine is a Gullah/Geechee surname. They are in Charleston and Beaufort Counties, SC. Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation is a GOODWINE.

      The other names we are not familiar with here. Simms we tend to find in the deep south and may be from some of the people that were forcibly migrated from here to Mississippi and the surrounding areas along the Gulf.

  31. Deja K.

    Hi I was wondering are any of the names KINDER, Barnes, Adams, Felder or Robison a gullah geechee surname? My Kinder and Felder family are straight from Sc and they have always said they were geechee. Thank you for your time.

  32. Wendy P. Watson

    Greeting my Queen

    I am a lost soul of my before people; question, I am looking for a life change and I see the plight of my people in St. Helena. Why are there not more enlightened us, coming home to help. My surname is truly unknown to me because of the disconnections of family through the generations, and honestly I am not sure of my origin or whether I am a true member of one community or the next. Do you have any suggestion on where I can start. Bellmond,Gholson,Burney and Spady are the most common names in my family.

    Blessing to you my Queen.

  33. Mel

    Are the surnames Fuller or Salem maybe arounder Ridgeway are there abouts?
    mhaggood@gmail.com

    • Which Ridgeway? In what state?

      • Mel

        Ridgeway there abouts Charleston SC. Also the surname … Fullerton or felder

      • Ernestine Tobias Felder (GOD bless the dead.) was one of the Wisdom Circle Council of Elders members for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

        Ridgeville we thought was where you meant near St. George. Folks there are definitely Gullah/Geechee.

  34. Mel

    Thank you. It is Ridgeville that my Grandmother and Grandfather on my Mother side came from.

  35. Mel

    Thank you. It is Ridgeville that my Grandmother and Grandfather on my Mother side came from. My grandmother was a Felder.

  36. Ronald Gary Jr

    Peace Queen,

    My grandmother uses to tell me stories of how our family were Gullah Geechee. I was told her great grand killed Slave owner fled south. Changed last name to Gary should have been
    (custbut / Custbud?) Not sure of spelling. Originally from georiga / South Carolina Area? Looking to fill missing pieces.

    • Peace!

      If the surname is “Cuthbert,” there are some of them in the SC area of the Gullah/Geechee Nation for sure.

  37. Angel

    Gullah/Geechee Nation you were mentioned in a sociology text, that prompted my interest in who and what you were…I pray that our Father’s Blessings are upon you and that we, your American brothers and sisters, see your value and beauty and come together to respect your uniqueness and to protect you and your beautiful ways and history. Many Blessings and may you survive in dignity and peace.

    • Tenki Tenki!

      What sociology text was that exactly? We would love to have a copy for De Gullah/Geechee Alkebulan Archive. We appreciate the fact that you took it further and did reach out to us!

  38. Essence Cohen Fields

    Hi, are you able to tell me if the surname Cohen and Green are Gullah/Geechee? We used to go to family reunions in SC and I have been told so many stories about my family living in Savanah,GA. I’d love to reconnect.

    • YES Essence! Those are major names in use throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation and so is “Fields!”

      Many of the Cohens and Greens that are in Savannah, GA went there from Beaufort County, SC. So, you may want to do some more research on their migration patterns to end of up there.

      Hunnuh hafa cum ta de fess een August: http://www.gullahgeechee.biz Cum jayn we and meet mo ob de famlee!

      • Essence Cohen Fields

        This is so exciting to know. I’m about to bring a bus load of family from New York down to the festival! And apparently Green Pond, SC is where my aunts where born. Thank you for your response and helping me on this journey♡

      • http://www.gullahgeechee.info is the festival site. We look forward to hosting your group on historic St. Helena Island!

  39. Keisha Williams

    Hello, I was wondering how common the surname Williams, Abrams, Turner, or Griffin are among the nation?

    • Williams is in SC and NC for sure. The other names tend to be here through military people from other parts of the country.

  40. Akeem Gooding

    Peace Queen, I hope all is well. I wanted to ask if the surnames Gooding, Bowers, Barnes, LeSane ring a bell in the nation? I remember my grandmother from when I was small she spoke differently and I could understand but couldn’t repeat lol. She Gooding/Bowers from Hampton. Tenki Tenki

    • Peace Akeem!

      I can tell you that although those names are not extremely common here, Hampton County, SC is part of the Gullah/Geechee Nation! So, check pun hunnuh famlee fa tru!

  41. Luciano Drummond

    I was told that my great great grandparents were Geechee and Cherokee mixes from Florida and South Carolina by the names of Nix and Drummond although I think she was referring to the Nix’s primarily in regards to the Geechee background, with many have the middle name Cornelius in it. I believe some were located in Orangeburg, South Carolina after they moved from Florida.

    • Peace!

      I believe that in your case, the term “Geechee” was being used as a general term that was often reduce to a derogatory term for Black folks from SC. Orangeburg is inland and not a part of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. However, as people moved to Florida and other states, folks would refer to them as “Geechees” without necessarily making reference to the ethnic group that we are a part of. The surnames that you mentioned are usually inland names. So, check the details on the birthplaces of your great great grandparents and let us know what those turn out to be Luciano.

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