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Kataba Indian Tribe

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American,North Carolina,South Carolina | No Comments

Editor’s Note: Kataba is a derivative for Catawba, so the following information is referencing the Catawba Indians.

The Kataba Indians of North and South Carolina are mentioned here only incidentally, as they do not appear to have had much intercourse with any Maskoki tribe. The real extent of this linguistic group is unknown; being in want of any vocabularies besides that of the Kataba, on Kataba river, S. C., and of the Woccons, settled near the coast of N. C., we are not inclined to trust implicitly the statement of Adair, who speaks of a large Kataba confederacy embracing twenty-eight villages “of different nations,” on Santee, Combahee, Congaree and other rivers, and speaking dialects of the Kataba language. The Waterees, seen by Lawson, probably belonged to this stock, and the Woccons lived contiguous to the Tuscarora-Iroquois tribe.

The passage of Adair being the only notice on the extent of the Kataba language found in the early authors, excepting Lawson, I transcribe it here in full (History, pp. 224. 225): “About the year 1743, the nation (of the Katahba) consisted of almost four hundred warriors, of above twenty different dialects. I shall mention a few of the national names of those who make up this mixed language; the Katahba is the standard or court dialect the Wateree, who make up a large town; Eenó, Charàh, ||-wah, now Chowan, Canggaree, Nachee, Yamasee, Coosah, etc. Their country had an old waste field of seven miles extent, and several others of smaller dimensions, which shows that they were formerly a numerous people, to cultivate so much land with their dull stone axes, etc.”

After Charah a new page begins, and the -wah following, which has no connection with what precedes, proves that there is a printer’s lacune, perhaps of a whole line. Eenó is given by Lawson as a Tuscarora town:1 Charah is the ancient Sara, Saura, Saraw or Sarau mentioned by Lederer and others. The “Nachee” certainly did not speak a Kataba language, nor is there much probability that the Yamassi did so. By the Coosah are probably meant the Indians living on Coosawhatchee River, South Carolina, near Savannah. Adair, in his quality as trader, had visited the Kataba settlements personally.2

Pénicaut, in his “Relation,”3 mentions a curious fact, which proves that the alliances of the Kataba extended over a wide territory in the South. In 1708, the Alibamu had invited warriors of the Cheroki, Abika and Kataba (here called Cadapouces, Canapouces} to an expedition against the Mobilians and the French at Fort Mobile. These hordes arrived near the bay, and were supposed to number four thousand men; they withdrew without inflicting much damage. More about this expedition under “Alibamu Indian Tribe.”

Footnotes

  1. Reprint of 1860, pp. 97. 100. 101. 383. 

  2. Cf. B. R. Carroll, Histor. Collect, of S. C., II, p. 243. Lawson states that the Congaree dialect was not understood by the Waterees and Chicarees. 

  3. Margry, Découvertes, V, 477 


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