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Native American Studies Center

History

In 2003, Dr. Tom Blumer donated an extensive collection of papers, archives, and artifacts, all dealing with the Catawba Indians, to Medford Library of USC Lancaster. The T.J. Blumer Catawba Research Collection contains a wide variety of materials created and collected by the donor over a 40-year period as he conducted his research on the Catawba and other Native American peoples, with a focus on the pottery of the Catawba Indians. These materials form the single largest documentary collection of materials about the Catawba in existence. The collection also provides the best existing documentation on the life, work, techniques, and products of the Catawba potters, artists who have maintained a continuous tradition stretching back hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

In 2005, with strong geographical and historical ties to the Catawba, USC Lancaster began to develop curricular and public programs focused on Native American art and culture, with a special emphasis on the Catawba and other Native communities in South Carolina.  Since then the Native American Studies faculty and committee have added to the curriculum and programing developed to include courses in art, American Indian literature and culture, Native American archaeology, folklore, anthropology, and oral traditions that can be taught to students on the Lancaster campus, at the Native American Studies Center, and around the state through the USC Palmetto Programs two-way video system.  Plans are underway to offer additional Native American literature courses, a course in Native American language, and additional courses taught through Palmetto College.

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