John Maguire7-204
The Catawba Indians are a very interesting tribe of people. They lived in villages with their extended families where everyday life consisted of making pottery, farming, hunting, and fishing. Their government was a council of leaders from various areas and they elected a chief. The Catawba Indians’ social and political organization is different than ours as being an elder gives you certain status. The Catawba Indians lived along the Catawba River. They typically had one or more people that were in charge of conducting religious ceremonies and healing rituals. The Catawba people still exist today. Here is a brief look into the life of the Catawba people.

1. Area inhabited/ruled [if members of your group emigrated, immigrated, or established settlement (colonies) outside of their home country you should include an explanation of that travel or settlement in this section; include places traveled and reasons for leaving home country]

The Catawba lived on the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as in the southeast region. Specifically, the Catawba lived on the Catawba River; traditionally on the Catawba River banks in York County. They were known as the “River People.” They currently live on a 640 acres reservation near Rock Hill, South Caroline.

The Catawba River which the Catawba once lived on. If you look closely you can see that it is labeled that the river is running through North and South Carolina.

2. Everyday Life

The Catawba Indians spoke Siouan. They lived in round houses that were covered in bark and had a fireplace in the middle to heat the house. The Catawba Indians lived with their extended family. Their villages were surrounded by a wooden wall which was six to eight feet tall. The village consisted of a large council house for meetings, a sweat lodge, homes, and open fields for meetings, sports, and games. The Catawba Indians were farmers, hunters, and fishermen. They farmed mostly corn, beans, and squash. They fished various kinds of freshwater fish in the Catawba River. Finally, they hunted deer, birds, and other various mammals. Men usually wore loin cloth made of deerskins and moccasins. When they went to war, the men painted one eye black and one eye white. The women wore knee-high skirts made of deerskins and other furs. In the winter of when traveling, the Catawba Indians wore pants, leggings, and caps of different furs. When the Catawba Indians wore jewelry, they usually wore shells, copper, and beads. On special occasions, the Catawba Indians painted themselves. The Catawba children had more chores to do than we do today. They went to work, hung out, played sports and went hunting and fishing with their fathers. The men went to war, fished, hunted, and farmed. The women cooked, farmed, and took care of the children. Both men and women could be chiefs; however, men were typically the chiefs. They were not nomads.

Catawba Indians dressed formally.

3. Social and Political Organization

The Catawba government consisted of a council of leaders from various areas. Together they decided on a chief. Each town was governed by a council which was ruled by a chief. There were approximately forty or fifty independent towns. The older you were, the higher the status you achieved. If you were a man, you got a higher status depending on your skill as a hunter, fisherman, or speaker. If you were a woman, you got a higher status if you were a good potter.

4. Religion

The Catawba tribes had one or more people conducting religious ceremonies or healing rituals. They used herbal medicines to heal. If someone murdered someone, then the killer had to be killed or scalped in order for the victim to rest in peace. Historically, the Catawba were at peace and harmony with Mother Nature and had different spirits like people, animal, and elemental. Priests or conjurers achieved high status for their powers as healers and diviners. They held ceremonies with music, dancing, praying, and speeches. They prayed for good hunting, fishing, and farming years. The Afterlife had a good part that was divided into four parts, as well as a bad part. Funerals had speeches, a feast, and a time to mourn. After a person died, the Catawba people did not speak that person’s name for three days. Today, the Catawba are mostly Mormon.

The Catawba people are now mostly Mormon today.external image 200px-Mormon-book.jpgCatawba_3.jpg

5. Arts/Technology/Developed Culture

The Catawba are one of the few tribes that still exists in southeast America. Although the tribe still exists, there are only approximately 1,500 members in the tribe. The Catawba people are known for their pottery, as you can see from the examples listed below.
Catawba_4.jpgCatawba_6.jpgexternal image pottery.jpgexternal image PotteryVaseTwoSpout01.jpg
The Catawba Indians worked very hard. Parents farmed, fished, hunted, and made pottery. Children had more chores than we do today. The Catawba Indians covered a great amount of land. They existed in 40 or 50 towns; each was governed by its own council and chief. Today, the Catawba Indians live on a 640 acres reservation near Rock Hill, South Carolina. They pray for good hunting, fishing, and plantings. However, the Catawba are mostly known for their pottery which is now how they make a lot of their money. The Catawba Indians are an interesting tribe of people.