Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the diverse Mississippian and piedmont Siouan people who lived along the Catawba River sought to sustain their communities in the wake of epidemics, the Indian slave trade, massive depopulation, and other forms of violence caused by British colonial expansion. The distress of the period led many survivors of the northern piedmont to relocate their communities to the lower Catawba River valley in present-day South Carolina, where they sought refuge with the militaristic ye iswą (Nassaw), “People of the River.” In Fit for War, Mary Elizabeth Fitts analyzes the development and maintenance of the mid-eighteenth-century Catawba Nation’s collective identity, concentrating on the Catawba twin town of Nassaw-Weyapee and the refugee town of Charraw. Her central question is how Catawba refugee incorporation, settlement aggregation, and political coalescence influenced Catawba persistence in terms of sustenance and order. Using...

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