• Dogwoods in bloom during the spring

    Fort Raleigh

    National Historic Site North Carolina

The Roanoke Tribe

American Indian fishing in the sound.

Modern depiction of an Algonquian Indian fishing in the sound.

Roanoke Island Historical Association

Roanoke Island received its name from the presence of the Roanoac tribe that resided on the island and nearby mainland. These American Indian people were the first to witness the arrival of the English explorers Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe in 1584, establishing a first contact between themselves and people from Europe.

The Roanoke and their culture were a part of the broader group of Algonquin-speaking peoples that ranged from the Great Lakes to Labrador and down the eastern seaboard to approximately Cape Lookout. As “water people,” the Algonquian people lived along the waterways adjacent to the coast such as the Chesapeake Bay and the sound waters of present-day eastern North Carolina.

For more information on the Roanoke tribe, click here.

Did You Know?

De Bry's engravings of Indian chiefs

Roanoke Island has two towns, Manteo and Wanchese, both named after the native Algonquian Indians that were introduced in England.