'Ittiwan Oak' in Daniel Island Park named SC 2015 Heritage Tree
A statuesque Live Oak described by the Daniel Island Historical Society as a “magnificent community treasure” has been selected by Trees SC as its 2015 Heritage Tree. Named by DIHS for the Etiwan Tribe that once called Daniel Island home, the “Ittiwan Oak” is the centerpiece of Great Oak Park and is located near the Ralston Creek boat landing in Daniel Island Park.
According to the Trees SC website, the Heritage Tree Award, sponsored by Bartlett Trees, identifies, celebrates and recognizes remarkable trees in South Carolina. Other Heritage Award winners include the Angel Oak on Johns Island (2004), the Winthrop University Southern Magnolia in Rock Hill (2010), and the Trinity Live Oaks in Columbia (2011). The Ittiwan Oak was nominated for the 2015 award by DIHS for its historical and cultural significance to the area, as well as its demonstrated community value - all criteria for its entry into the contest.
“We are pleased to present the 2015 Heritage Award to the Ittiwan Oak on Daniel Island,” said Karen Hauck, executive director of Trees SC. “This tree was selected based on its rich history, and the commitment and appreciation of local residents to the tree’s maintenance and preservation.”
The tree stands in an area on Daniel Island in which a high concentration of Native American artifacts have been found. According to Mike Dahlman, DIHS co-founder and co-author of the book Daniel Island, thousands of Indian artifacts have been uncovered on the island over the last several decades, including arrowheads that are thought to be about 10,000 years old, as well as pottery shards dated to about 2500 B.C. In 2002, archaeologists exploring the west bank of Ralston Creek discovered a major Native American site dating back hundreds of years.
“Extensive archeological work by Brockington and Associates in 2003 determined this to be the location of significant 16th century Indian activity, including, hearth sites, trash pits, four dwellings and one burial site,” wrote Dahlman in a 2011 article on the subject for The Daniel Island News. “Presumably, these features reflect the Etiwan Indian occupation of Daniel Island…Investigative work continues on the material recovered from this site that is proving to be one of the best preserved and most carefully investigated Native American sites on the southeast coast.”
“The area surrounding the Ittiwan Oak is incredibly special in terms of history,” added DIHS President Brenda Thorn. “One could argue it is located on sacred ground.”
In recognition of the Native American discoveries, DIHS officially dedicated the Ittiwan Oak to the descendants of the Ittiwan Tribe, today known as the Etiwan Tribe of the Wassamasaw Indian Nation of Moncks Corner. In a moving ceremony conducted by DIHS in March of 2015, as part of the inaugural “Live Oak Lights” community event, members of the tribe gathered hand in hand at the base of the tree to offer up prayers of thanksgiving.
“The ‘Ittiwan Oak’ just seemed to epitomize all that the Heritage Tree Award represents,” added Thorn, who praised the Daniel Island Property Owners Association for their expert care of the tree. “We are absolutely thrilled that this year’s judging panel agreed! This is a significant honor not only for this amazing tree and for the Daniel Island community as a whole, but for the Etiwan descendants that we consider to be a special part of our island family.”
Thorn accepted the award for the Ittiwan Oak at a recognition program hosted by Trees SC in Folly Beach on October 29. Also in attendance were several members of the Etiwan Tribe of the Wassamasaw Indian Nation. A plaque dedication commemorating the Heritage Tree Award will take place at Great Oak Park in early December. The Ittiwan Oak is also a member of the national Live Oak Society, along with approximately 135 other Daniel Island Live Oaks. For additional information on the DIHS Live Oak Campaign, visit http://dihistoricalsociety.com/honoring-our-living-history-live-oak-camp....