4 Forgotten Communities That Somehow Still Exist In America

You may have heard of the Yanomami -- a tribe in the Amazon who have existed for centuries, all the while blissfully unaware of the shitty cell phone service and 2 Broke Girls box sets they're missing out on. But the remote and unapologetically malarial rainforest isn't the only place where one can find isolated communities. There are just such places right here in the U.S. And we're not talking about the bearded weirdos in Pennsylvania or the town in Florida that's populated by former carnival workers of the "Monkey Girl" and "Lobster Boy" variety. Those places are practically Las Vegas timeshare resorts compared to ...

#4. The Gullah/Geechee Nation

VICE News

So imagine you're on vacation in Myrtle Beach for some reason. Why not? The fact that they have a law against pissing in swimming pools there is a pretty good selling point, I'd say. But anyway, maybe you decide to explore a bit and take one of those cool fan boat excursions to ogle some alligators. Then, at some point during the trip, you see an island off in the distance. And on that island are people dressed in African garb, engaged in traditional activities like basket weaving, quilt making, and so forth. Did your drunken pilot wander too far south and wind up at one of those Epcot Center World Showcase pavilions? Nope, you just crossed over into Gullah/Geechee territory!

Gullah/Geechee Nation

The Gullah/Geechee "Corridor" used to extend from North Carolina's Cape Fear to Jacksonville, Florida, but it's gradually shrunk to the point where you can only find it in the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry. And today, visitors at upscale tourist destinations like Hilton Head might spend the entirety of their stay without ever realizing they're golfing right next door to something even more authentically African than when Dave Matthews played his last gig at the local Marriott.

Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition
Which presumably leads to no small amount of confusion for disembarking cruise ship passengers.

So who exactly are are the Gullah -- and furthermore, the Geechee? Well, those are just two ways of describing the same group of people: the descendants of former West African slaves who've lived since the bad old days in rural isolation, keeping the traditions of their ancestors alive to the point where they're "known for preserving more of their African linguistic and cultural heritage than any other African-American community in the United States."

Oh, and that lady in the image above? That's not just some random basket-carrying nobody from the bygone days. That's Queen Quet, the current Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. She's pretty hot, as queens go. Just try not to get too weirded out when she breaks into song right in the middle of a conversation:

Only time will tell if the Gullah/Geechee Nation will be able to retain such a close connection to their roots, what with bulldozers constantly threatening to turn their way of life into waterfront condominiums. But even if they do all eventually disperse and the old ways become a distant memory, at least least they'll always have one of the most disconcerting mascots in children's television history to remind them of the struggles of their forebears.

Nickelodeon
Apparently, "Binyah Binyah" is the local word for "pesticide runoff mutation."

#3. Supai, Arizona

stellgp/iStock/Getty Images

Lots of people have visited (or at least momentarily panicked while peering out an airplane window at) the Grand Canyon at some point in their lives. But only the intrepid few have placed their faith in the surefootedness of a stubborn ass and journeyed all the way down to the bottom. The waterfalls and all that are nice, sure. Whatever. But what really makes the trip worthwhile is getting the opportunity to stop in at Supai, home to one the smallest Indian nations in the United States, and a great place to load up on supplies, souvenirs, and presumably a wide selection of hemorrhoid medications.

tonda/iStock/Getty Images
The only locality in the world whose entire economy is based on topical creams.

That caption isn't too far from the truth, considering that selling tchotchkes to tourists is pretty much the only thing keeping the village (population: a whopping 200) afloat. And since you're not likely to do much in the way of comparison shopping while stuck at the nadir of America's lowest point, try to keep that fact in mind before you grumble about the jacked-up prices on turquoise bolo ties and whatnot.

Transparent with Myself
The Walmart imagery at the bottom should give you an idea of what you're in for.

But every weeping-sore-laden trekker who makes it all the way to Supai should really be grateful for the opportunity to empty out their wallets in the first place. And that's because it's a wonder and testament to their fortitude that the Havasupai are still there at all, since over the years, they've had to overcome numerous and protracted legal battles with the National Park Service simply for the right to live on their own native lands (and deal with all the pesky scientists traipsing down there to suck out their DNA).

But luckily for all those weary, ointment-starved hikers, the tribe has overcome all obstacles and can now rejoice in the fact that they get to live in the closest thing America has to a bottomless pit, where there are no cars and all mail is delivered by those aforementioned jerky mules. And if one of those pieces of mail happens to contain a gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond, you'd better know somebody with a helicopter if you want to redeem it before it expires.

Via Trip Advisor
Or if you're one of the unlucky few who experience seizures due to scenic grandeur overdoses.

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E. Reid Ross

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