The Catawba Indian Nation is located in Rock Hill and is the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina. Their history is traced along ancestral lands along the Catawba River dating back 6000 years. The Catawba Nation is believed to have lived across the Piedmont of South Carolina, North Carolina, and even parts of Virginia.
The tribe calls their people yeh is-WAH h’reh, meaning “people of the river.”
Today The Catawba control a reservation in Rock Hill and have around 3,200 members of the tribe. The Catawbas are very active in their community and in the legislature. On the reservation, you can find a gift shop and cultural center that will outline the history of the Catawba people and their traditions.
The Catawbas are known for their pottery. They have continued to harvest their clay from the same spot along the Catawba River for generations, continuing to pass down the sacred traditions of their pottery making.
Being people of the river, the Catawbas were known for trading with settlers items like mocassins, baskets, and pottery. The impact of their pottery has transcended into modern-day society, as pottery is extremely popular among artisans across Rock Hill. Around 50 Catawbas continue to make and sell the pottery. You can find some of their pieces on display and for sale at the cultural center.