Catawba Nation: The Tribe of Today

The Catawba people lived in South Carolina, North Carolina and parts of Virginia long before European settlers arrived. Their nation headquarters and Catawba Cultural Center are in Rock hill, South Carolina. According to the Catawba Nation website (, they lived in this region on their ancestral lands along the Catawba River for 6,000 years. The Catawba sided with the Patriot settlers when the settlers decided they wanted to be free of England, one of only three “tribes” to do so. The Catawba were fierce warriors and it made a difference for the settlers, but it did not protect the Catawba from Small Pox, which nearly wiped them out.

When many indigenous people in the region were being moved West as part of the Trail of Tears, State of South Carolina decided not to bother with the Catawba, not as thanks for fighting at their side during the Revolutionary War, but because they did not want to spend the money. State officials thought Catawba would go extinct because they were so decimated by Small Pox. They under- estimated the resiliency of the Catawba people.

And the Catawba people are still fighting. After their federal status was removed in 1951, The Catawba people reorganized and fought to regain that status.It took over 20 years to accomplish this, but they achieved it. Again they have proved that they are warriors and they are a strong, resilient people.

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