Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Half Moon Prairie - Documentary Project



Posted with the kind permission of Cynthia Hoelscher. Please visit Cynthia's site at the link above for information on how you can pledge your contribution and help make this project possible.

Half Moon Prairie

A Documentary project in Corpus Christi, TX by Cynthia Hoelscher

The Shawnee.  The Quapaw.  The Delaware. The Kickapoo.  The Coushatta.  The Cherokee and all allied tribes of Texas in 1821.  Native Americans should be honored for their contributions in history.  This project honors not one misrepresented Native American hero in history, but we follow in the footsteps of many brave Native Americans who helped make Texas what we are today.  Without them, the geography of the United States might look quite different today.
A Lumbee Goins descendent named Pamela DeRensis and I met at the quiet family cemetery in the woods of  the Ft. Bragg Military Base, North Carolina.  Several headstones were engraved with ornate symbols.  There is no doubt the language is Cherokee, but it is an old form of Cherokee that is not used anymore.  The meanings of the Native American symbols are lost to us, but we believe the language is much older than the stones.  This was the homeland of William Bill Goyens of Nacogdoches. We were on sacred ground. 
Previous biographers of Goyens often posed the questions in their essays: "How did he know how to speak Cherokee?"  "How could he be an Indian agent under Sam Houston?  "When and how did he come to Texas."  We have solved these mysteries and have the documents which explain an intriguing period of Native American history.
My father and I set out to answer the questions many years ago.  The winding journey encompassed 25 years.
No one suspected that the stars aligned on a fateful day in Alabama,  March 1814.  Stars aligned for the State of Texas, as Goyens, Chief Bowles, the Old Settler families and Sam Houston would be instrumental in Texas' Battle for Independence.
When the documents-- collected from over four states-- were presented once more in the oldest town in Texas, the scholars shook their heads in dismay and said. "How Unfortunate."  Unfortunate??? There has been no effort to correct the misrepresentations on Bill Goyens or the portrait of Chief Bowles depicted in a statue in Nacogdoches as being lowly and stooped, lorded over by Houston and his treaty.  No mention is made of the honor and loyalty of the Quapaw, the Kickapoo, the Delaware, the Coushatta and other Allied tribes and their role in Republic of Texas history.  It is a travesty . . .  .but it is not unfortunate, yet.   It will be unfortunate if nothing is done.  And that's where your support comes in.  Our nation is much more diverse than the text books reveal.  To expound on Native American contributions to our history is not unfortunate.  To celebrate the First Nation's heroes is not unfortunate either.  The Native American children and future generations should not be denied their role models and their heroes. 
This film  is being made because it is the right thing to do.  For the Cherokee peoples and their allied tribes: the Shawnee, the Kickapoo, the Quapaw, the Delaware, the Coushatta and for Native American tribes as a whole. Thanks to a discussion with a Sundance Film Festival director, we understand the budget requirements to produce a quality documentary and once we've reached this financial mark, we will initiate production under a professional director.  We have a business plan.  We have a budget which we hope this project will help in funding the production phase.  We will launch our full-length, professionally directed documentary in the Indigenous People Films category at a future Sundance Festival which will be determined by the production process.   We are experienced in accountability for funds since we've worked with grants and every penny of these funds will be used in the making of a quality documentary. 
Thank you for supporting this film. 
Cyndie Goins Hoelscher has spent the past 25 years researching the diverse community of Moore County, North Carolina and migrations to Texas. Reconstructing small communities based on kinship, social structure and migrations, her research illustrates the intricate nature of small townships in the South. Hoelscher graduated from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, TX with an Associate of Arts: History; Del Mar College Hall of Fame, Phi Theta Kappa, Biercoe Distinguished Scholar Medal, Honors Institute (Elizabethtown, PA) and USA Today Award. She received her BA: History from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, distinguishing herself as a Ronald McNair scholar and recipient of a College Language Association Award for Fiction, Spellman College, Atlanta. Her work honors people regarded as marginal throughout United States history.


  1. The cemetery at Fort Bragg NC belongs to my great-great grandparents. The Federal Government took the land and my family started another cemetery in West End near Pinehurst NC. There is another family cemetery in Fayetteville NC where my grandfather Charlie T. Goins purchased more land. The markings on the old cemetery at Fort Bragg match some of the markings on the Judacula Rock in Western NC. My mother was a Goins.
    Janet Lake, Hackettstown, NC 07840 908-852-4308.

    1. Prior to 1889, Martine Goins, Lucian Goins, Edmund Goins (brothers of Rebecca Goins) and Eli Walden purchased over 4,000 acres of land in the area known as Fort Bragg for their turpentine business - recorded as the first Native American business in North Carolina. On August 5,1889, for the price of $125.00, Eli and Rebecca (Goins) Walden were deeded out of the 4,000, 43 acres of land with one being allotted for a graveyard in the Silver Run Community of Cumberland County (Fort Bragg). The cemetery is known as the Goins Indian Cemetery. According to Fort Bragg, Historical Resource Center, it was named "Goins" instead of "Walden" because of the majority of the names on the headstones are Goins. Cumberland County Deed Book 88, page 236, year 1889. Helena Hendrix-Frye, Southern Pines, North Carolina. Email -