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Duke Energy Foundation Awards USCL Grant for Catawba Indian Pottery and Programs

The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded $5000 to USC Lancaster's Native American Studies to help the campus further develop its Catawba Indian pottery collection.  Funds will be used to acquire pottery, expand exhibit areas, and create programs highlighting the cultural and artistic traditions of the Catawba people.

The Catawba pottery tradition stretches back hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  Early European explorers in the Carolinas encountered Native Catawbas, or Iswas, making pottery from clay gathered from the river which today bears their people's name.  Today's potters have preserved this art, the oldest continuous ceramics tradition east of the Mississippi, making pottery as their ancestors have done for generations.

USCL's Native American Studies offers courses, campus programs, workshops, and exhibits highlighting the history and culture of the Catawba Indians and other Native American communities in South Carolina.   "We are so grateful to Rick Jiran and the Duke Energy Foundation for their continued support of our efforts," said Native American Studies Director, Dr. Stephen Criswell.  "Duke Energy's donation in early 2006 provided us with the resources we needed to begin creating our studies.  Subsequent grants have helped us build a Catawba pottery collection and to develop our successful campus events."  These events have included two Native American Studies Week celebrations and the "Day of the Catawba" festival. 

Dr. Criswell and his colleagues will be hosting a third Native American Studies Week April 21-25, and the Catawba Cultural Center is making plans to hold its 2008 "Day of the Catawba" festival on the USCL campus in mid-November.  In Fall 2008, portions of the USCL Catawba pottery collection will be exhibited as part of a campus exhibit highlighting the work of Catawba potter and National Heritage Fellow, the late Georgia Harris.  This exhibition is also sponsored in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

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