The Lost Colony of Roanoke has been a mystery that has yet to be solved despite the amount of time that has passed. Could it have been natural forces at work like hurricanes or disease? Or something of a more violent nature? One Native American tale known as “The Legend of the White Doe” may hold some clues as to what really happened to America’s first settlement.
The Legend of the White Doe
The Legend of the White Doe is a tale of magic, love, and tragedy that has been passed down in Native American lore for centuries. When Governor John White had left the settlement of Roanoke to return to England and Queen Elizabeth for supplies and assistance, he had left behind his family and granddaughter. This 9 day-old child, known as Virginia Dare, meant something special to the settlers as she was the first child born on America’s soil after the settlers had arrived. This child would come to be the main character in the Legend of the White Doe.
A Tale of Two Natives
A little backstory that is very, very important for this legend. While on one of the surveying trips for the colony to eventually be settled, Governor John White brought two Indians with him back from America to England, Wanchese and Manteo. Upon arriving, Manteo was mesmerized by the ways of the English and saw great opportunity in his people assimilating with the new people back in America. However, Wanchese saw only conflict and ruin for the Native Americans if they were to partner with the settlers.
The Fateful Day
According to the legend, after Governor John White had departed from American soil for supplies and assistance, Wanchese launched an attack on Roanoke in an outright massacre with very few survivors. Among them were Anonias and Eleanor Dare along with their child, Virginia Dare.
As if guided by benevolent spirits, Manteo rescued the Dare family. However not long after the attack, Virginia’s parents died leaving her in the care of the Manteo’s people. She learned the ways of the Native Americans and grew up as one of them, earning her the name, Winona Sky.
As Winona Sky grew into a beautiful, young woman, many young men competed for her affection among those being Chico and Okisko. Chico was a sly, old witch doctor while Okisko was a handsome warrior. Winona had rejected Chico’s advances and had fallen for Okisko choosing him as her suitor. Enraged, Chico vowed that if he couldn’t have her, no one would. He cursed her turning her into a majestic white doe.
In the years that followed, Okisko searched for a way to turn his beloved back into the human, Winona. He journeyed to the edges of Lake Mattamuskeet to seek the wisdom of Wenaudon, a formidable shaman and a known adversary of Chico. Recognizing Okisko’s earnest quest, Wenaudon gifted him an enchanted arrow, its tip made from oyster shell. The medicine man told Okisko that if this mystical arrow found its way to the white doe’s heart, she would transform back into the enchanting young woman he once knew as Winona.
As time went on, the white doe became a focus of interest with hunters and people alike. Fearing the what they did not understand with the white doe, the anxiety within the warriors of the region at this mystical appearance became too much. Wanchese ordered a hunt for the ever elusive white doe. At the same moment in time, Okisko was on the search for his beloved armed with his enchanted arrow that had the power to bring Winona Sky back to her true form.
After some time, the white doe made her appearance. Okisko breath bated pulled back his arrow while aiming straight for her heart. The arrow found its target and a thick fog descended upon the area. However, Okisko was not the only one on the scene. Just as he loosed his arrow, Wanchese did as well and both found their target. As the fog lifted, Winona Sky transformed back into her true human form, but something was wrong. Her heart was pierced by the second arrow of Wanchese killing her instantly.
Overcome by palpable grief, Okisko wrapped Winona’s body in his mantle and buried her body at the fort that was abandoned years earlier by the settlers.
Even now, some say a white doe can be seen flitting through the forests of Roanoke Island when the clock strikes midnight, disappearing without a trace at the first light of dawn. Could this ethereal creature be the lingering spirit of Winona Sky?
Outerlore: Your Portal to Outer Banks’ Secrets
But first, let’s introduce you to Outerlore, the ultimate key to unlock the stories and tales of the past in the Outer Banks. If you seek to immerse yourself in the lore and legends of this enchanting region, look no further. Outerlore’s audio tours make you feel as if you’ve stepped back to a time long forgotten and become part of the story yourself.
From shipwrecks and ghost sightings to local legends and forgotten whispers of the past, Outerlore unveils the secrets of these fabled shores with a genuine, authentic tone that resonates with every traveler. You’ll find yourself not just a visitor but a true part of the Outer Banks’ story.
As you explore the Legend of the White Doe, consider taking an Outerlore audio tour and allow the spirit of the Outer Banks to speak to you. With these guided tours, you’ll walk in the footsteps of those who lived and loved, fought and perished, and left their tales echoing through the sands of time.
For the Legend of the White Doe is not just a story; it’s a piece of a larger tapestry, a thread in the rich narrative of this land. With Outerlore, you’ll unravel more layers of this intricate fabric and feel the heartbeat of the Outer Banks’ legends. Book your audio tour of the Outer Banks today!
The Legend of the White Doe & Roanoke Revisited
Returning to where we began—the Lost Colony of Roanoke remains a whispered question mark in the annals of history. The Legend of the White Doe might just hold the key to unraveling the secrets that have long evaded us. Did Wanchese and his warriors contribute to the colony’s mysterious disappearance? Did the survivors find a new life among the Croatan tribe?
While the legend may seem steeped in the mystical, its roots may very well tap into the hidden truths that have eluded us for so long.
Let me know your thoughts and theories in the comments below!