Jeffries said he used three journals to document the building of the first replica village. He said he has changed the ways the project has been approached, but the motivation behind the creation, to honor the lives of the Occaneechi ancestors, has stayed the same.
“This is not only for Hillsborough but it’s for my grandchildren, my great grandchildren and my great-great grandchildren,” Jeffries said. “I’m carrying on the legacy of my family that’s been here hundreds of years before Hillsborough — it’s a thing that I would like to see carried on.”
Sarah DeGennaro, the executive director of the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, said that she was glad the county was finally giving the Occaneechi the support and attention they deserve. To make this replica possible, Orange County is providing $20,000 to go toward the materials and workers needed.
“We are here to support the Occaneechi and make the vision that they have a reality,” DeGennaro said.
DeGennaro also said this village will provide community members an opportunity to see what the lives of the Occaneechi would have been like through interactive events and tours.
“This is about cultural conservation — it is about preserving the history that was once here and telling that story,” she said.
Volunteer and Hillsborough resident Holly Reid agreed that the replica village will help bolster appreciation for the first generations that lived in Hillsborough.
“I view this as an incredible opportunity,” Reid said. “We have such a rich history in Hillsborough, which we are extremely lucky to have, and I’m deeply interested in enriching the community by supporting the efforts to create this village that will support an underrepresented part of our history.”
Jeffries said that he hoped the replica village would help Hillsborough residents perceive history in a new way, different from how history books tell it.
“Who wrote the book?” he said. “That’s what I ask people when they think about the history of the native people — our history has been passed down through oral tradition and we are ready to tell it.”