Some Catawba History (Part 3.)
Native American Catawba Nation
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 Page 380 MYTHS OF THE CHEROKEE [ETH.ANN.19] 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! [REF:#1] Catawba MS from South Carolina official archives. [REF:2] 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. ACADEMIC AMERICAN ENCYCLOPEDIA CATAWBA (Kuh-taw'-buh) 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 Bibliography: 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@example.com) USGENWEB NOTICE: In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be freely used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other presentation. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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