The Catawbas are a Native American tribe primarily located in the southeastern United States, specifically here in South Carolina. They have a remarkably rich history that spans at least 6000 years, showcasing their deep roots in the region.
The tribe calls their people yeh is-WAH h’reh, meaning “people of the river.”
Today, the Catawba people reside on a reservation in Rock Hill which is home to around 3,200 members of the tribe. The Catawbas actively participate in their community and have a strong presence in the legislature. Additionally, within the reservation, you can find a gift shop and cultural center that offer insights into 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.