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Catawba (cuh-TAW-buh) is a small town located in York County, South Carolina. Catawba is an unincorporated community of York County. The community, Catawba, was once referred to as Catawba Ridge, but this name became unpopular after 1974. Only tribal elders refer to Catawba as Catawba Ridge.
Catawba is located in the Piedmont (Foothills) region of South Carolina. Within the town limits of Catawba, there are certain areas of the land that consists of red clay. Red clay is the result of poor farming practices, which eventually led to the erosion of topsoil in the area. Prior to the erosion of topsoil, the Piedmont Region was once known for great farming.
As of the 2010 census, there were 3,721 people living in Catawba, South Carolina. 78.48% of the populations are White, 17.05 are Black, 3.35% are Hispanic, 1.41% are Native American, and .30% are Asian. Six point forty-eight percent of the population are between the ages of 0-4, 15.19% of the population are between the ages of 5 to 17, 65.67% are between the ages of 18 to 64, and 12.66% of the population are over the age of 65. The median income for people of Catawba, South Carolina, in 2010, was $34,104. The overall median income of the state was $41,699. The overall median of income of Catawba was $34,104. Catawba was $7,595 short. The percentage of people in Catawba that live in poverty is 38.8%.
The Catawba Native Americans first populated the area along the Catawba River more than 6,000 years ago. Settlers began to colonize the Piedmont region in 1670. The Catawba Natives believed in brotherly love and peace, so they created a friendly environment and relationship with the settlers. Along with the settlers there came new beginnings, tools, and diseases. In 1759, there was a small pox epidemic that eventually brought the Native American tribe population to less than 1,000 people.
The Catawba Indian Reservation is a 600-acre piece of land purchased by the Catawba Indians in 1850. This reservation is the only Indian reservation that is federally recognized in the state of South Carolina. As of 2011, there are 2,800 members of the reservation. The Reservation offers childcare, a housing program, clinics, transit services, a senior citizens program, and a Head Start program for all members of the Catawba Indian Nation. Anyone is welcome to visit the Catawba Indian Reservation, but before anyone enters the property, they must understand and abide by their rules.
In 1763, the King of England gave the Catawba Indians 144,000 acres of land in the area in the Piedmont Region. The land the Catawba Indians were awarded was too big to protect from the settlers inhabiting the land, so tribal members decided it was best to allow renting the land to settlers. The first settler to rent a land from the Catawba Indians was Thomas Spratt. Thomas Spratt rented several thousand acres of land from the Catawba Indians. As time went by, more settlers wanted more land for themselves and renting from the Catawba Indians was not enough. This desire for more land from the settlers was around the same time of the Removal Period. To avoid any displacement of the Native Americans the state of South Carolina decided to create a Treaty with the Catawba Indian Tribe. In this treaty, the state promised to pay the tribe money for their land. The Catawba Indians land was sold, but the tribe received no money. Some members of the tribe moved to North Carolina for a brief period, while others moved and joined the Cherokee Nation. In 1850, the Catawba Indian tribe returned to South Carolina and purchased 650 acres from the state. In 1944, the tribe created their own constitution to help better govern themselves under the Franklin Roosevelt Indian Reorganization Act. In 1973, the Catawba tribe formed a non-profit corporation and they were awarded federal recognition in 1993. In 1993, the state of South Carolina paid the Catawba tribe 50 million dollars as compensation for the original 144,000 acres.