History 3, Catawba
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Some Catawba History (Part 3.)
Native American Catawba Nation
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The Catawba Native Americans: Extracted from: 'Myths of the Cherokees'
By James Mooney (1861-1921) Published by Governmental Printing Office
Washington, DC. in 1900; pp 380-81


The CATAWBA are known to the Cherokee as Ani'ta'gwa, singular
Ata'gwa, or Ta'gwa, the Cherokee attempt at the name by which they
are most commonly known. They were the immediate neighbors of
the Cherokee on the east and southeast, having their principal 
settlements on the river of their (CATAWBA River) name, just within 
the limits of South Carolina, and holding the leading place among 
all the tribes east of the Cherokee country with the exception of 
the Tuscarora. On the first settlement of South Carolina there were 
estimated to be about 7,000 persons in the tribe, but their decline 
was rapid, and by war and disease their number had been reduced in 
1775 to barely 500, including the incorporated remnants of the Cheraw 
and several smaller tribes. There are now, [1900 ..prs] perhaps, 100 
still remaining on a small reservation near the site of their ancient 
towns. Some local names in the old Cherokee territory seem to indicate 
the former presence of CATAWBA, although there is no tradition of any 
CATAWBA settlement within those limits.

Among such names may be mentioned Toccoa Creek, in northeastern
Georgia, and Toccoa River, in north-central Georgia, both names being
derived from the Cherokee Tagwa'hi, "CATAWBA place." An old Cherokee 
personal name is "Ta'gwadihi", "CATAWBA-KILLER."

The two tribes were hereditary enemies, and the feeling between
them is nearly as bitter to-day as it was a hundred years ago. 
Perhaps the only case on record of their acting together was in the war
of 1711-1713, when they cooperated with the colonists against the 
Tuscarora. The Cherokee, according to the late Colonel Thomas, claim
to have formerly occupied all the country about the head of the 
"Catawba river", to below the present Morganton, until the game became
scarce, when they retired to the west of the 'Blue ridge', and afterward
"loaned" the eastern territory to the CATAWBA. This agrees pretty
well with a CATAWBA tradition recorded in 'Schoolcraft', according to
which the CATAWBA --  who are incorrectly represented as comparatively
recent immigrants from the north -- arriving at CATAWBA river found [pg381]
their progress disputed by the Cherokee, who claimed original 
ownership of the country. A battle was fought, with incredible loss on
both sides, but with no decisive result, although the advantage was
with the CATAWBA, on account of their having guns, while their 
opponents had only Indian weapons. Preparations were under way to
renew the fight when the Cherokee offered to recognize the river as
the boundary, allowing the CATAWBA to settle anywhere to the east.
The overture was accepted and an agreement was finally made by which
the CATAWBA were to occupy the country east of that river and the
Cherokee the country west of 'Broad River', with the region between
the two streams to remain as neutral territory. Stone piles were
heaped up on the battlefield to commemorate the treaty, and the 'Broad
River' was henceforth called "Eswau Huppeday (Line River), by the
CATAWBA, the country eastward to CATAWBA River being left unoccupied. 
[REF:#1] The fact that one party had guns would bring this event within 
the early historic period.

The CATAWBA assisted the whites against the Cherokee in the war
of 1760 and in the later Revolutionary struggle. About 100 warriors, 
nearly the whole fighting strength of the tribe, took part in
the first-mentioned war, several being killed, and a smaller number
accompanied Williamson's force in 1776. [REF:#2] At the battle fought 
under Williamson near the present site of Franklin, North Carolina, the
Cherokee, according to the tradition related by Wafford, mistook the
CATAWBA allies of the troops for some of their own warriors, and were
fighting for some time under this impression before they noticed that
the CATAWBA wore deer tails in their hair so that the whites might not
make the same mistake. In this engagement, which was one of the
bloodiest Indian encounters of the Revolution, the Cherokee claim
that they had actually defeated the troops and their CATAWBA allies,
when their own ammunition gave out and they were consequently
forced to retire. The Cherokee leader was a noted war chief named
Tsan-i (John).

About 1840 nearly the whole CATAWBA tribe moved up from South
Carolina and joined the eastern band of Cherokee, but in consequence
of tribal jealousies they remained but a short time, and afterward
returned to their former home, as is related elsewhere.

Other tribal names (of doubtful authority) are Ani'-Sa'ni and 
Ami'-Sawaha'ni, belonging to people said to have lived toward the 
north; both names are perhaps intended for the Shawano or Shawnee, 
properly Ani'-Sawanu'gi. The Ani'-Gili' are said to have been neighbors
of the Anin'tsi' or Natchez; the name may possibly be a Cherokee form
for Congaree.

Reference Notes!

   Catawba MS from South Carolina official archives. 
   Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes, III, pp. 293-4, 1853.

498             MYTHS OF THE CHEROKEE           [ETH, ANN. 19

Catawba - The origin and meaning of this name, which dates back at least two
centuries, are unknown. It may possibly come from the Choctaw through the
Mobilian trade jargon. They call themselves 'Nieye', which means simply 
"people" or "Indians." The Iroquois call them and other cognate tribes in 
their vicinity 'Toderigh-rono', whence 'Tutelo.' In the seventeenth century 
they were often known as 'Esaw or Ushery', apparently from iswa, river, in 
their own language. The Cherokee name Ata'gwa, plural Ani'ta'gwa, is a 
corruption of the popular form. Their linguistic affinity with the Siouan 
stock was established by Gatschet in 1881. 
See Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East.

     The Catawba are a North American Indian tribe whose aboriginal 
     homeland was in the Carolinas.  Their language belongs to the 
     Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic family.  The Catawba 
     numbered an estimated 5,000 in 1600.  Women farmed the land along 
     the Catawba River; men hunted game and fought the CHEROKEE and other 
     enemy tribes.  By 1728 intermittent warfare and disease had reduced 
     their population to 1,400.  Struck by smallpox in 1738 and 1759, their 
     tribe was again reduced by nearly half.  They moved (1762) onto a small 
     reservation on the Catawba River, but by 1841 all but one square mile 
     of thier land had been sold to the state of South Carolina.  Some
     members of the nearly extinct tribe joined the Cherokee in western North
     Carolina or went to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.  The majority eventually
     stayed in South Carolina on a 255-ha (630-acre) reservation set aside 
     for them in 1842.
     In 1959 the Catawba petitioned Congress to terminate their tribal 
     status.  They distributed (1962) their land holdings among the 631 
     remaining members, but in 1973 they reconstituted a tribal council.
     Daniel Jacobson
     Copyright   1994 Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved

     Brown, Douglas S., Catawba Indians: The People of the River (1966); 
     Rights, Douglas L., The American Indian in North Carolina, (1957,
     repr. 1988); 
     Wetmore, Ruth Y., First on the Land: The North Carolina Indians (1975).  
This file was contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by: 
Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. Aug. 11, 1998                         ([email protected])

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Part of the SFA Native American Indian - Catawba Series! These records are part of the "History American Indian Profile©" by Volume - I. Sarratt/Sarrett/Surratt Family Profile©
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Created: Dec. 01, 1996; Aug. 10, 2001;  Nov. 24, 2001;  Sep. 10, 2007;