My Turn, Jared Tice: Catawba College, Catawba Nation intrinsically linked
Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 3, 2022
On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, the Salisbury Post published a Post Opinion article entitled, My Turn, Douglas Isham: How sad for Catawba to remove Indian logo, by City of Salisbury citizen Douglas Isham. We understand the nature of opinion pieces in newspapers and the rights of the individual authoring such opinions to freely express those in this medium. However, the piece contains many inaccuracies presented as fact by Mr. Isham.
In response to Mr. Isham’s article, we are providing bulleted, relevant facts regarding our historic relationship as we recognize Catawba College and the Catawba Nation have been intrinsically linked since the founding of the College in 1851.
Most importantly, the College and the Nation have worked together over the last year to further strengthen our relationship and our athletic nickname remains the Catawba Indians with the continued support from the Nation to do so.
Upon reviewing the below facts, we feel this information far better demonstrates our commitment to recognizing the invaluable contributions the first Americans of the Catawba Nation have provided and continue to provide to Catawba College, our region, and our country than any logo or imagery ever could. The College and the Nation have mutually pledged to continue exploring new endeavors together so we can further expand our longtime partnership.
Lastly, we are incredibly appreciative of the longstanding community support Salisbury and Rowan County citizens have provided to our College, our athletic programs, and our student-athletes for nearly 100 years and we look forward to welcoming our broader community back on to campus this fall to cheer on our athletic teams and engage in our many public events and offerings.
- Fact: Catawba College was founded in 1851 and was first physically established in Catawba County, North Carolina. The committee appointed by the founding trustees to choose the name of the school selected Catawba College “in view of the location of the school in Catawba County, which was bordered on the east by the Catawba River, along the banks of which the Catawba Indians once roamed” (Dedmond, 1989, p. 33).
- Fact: Catawba College began competitive athletics in the early part of the 20th century and adopted the athletic nickname, Indians (Dedmond, 1989, p. 92). The College’s athletic nickname continues the use of Indians, now Catawba Indians, still today.
- Fact: In August of 2005, The NCAA Executive Committee issued guidance on the adoption of a new policy, effective February 1, 2006, prohibiting NCAA colleges and universities from “displaying hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery” and explicitly listed Catawba College and the Indians nickname as a member institution impacted by this policy (NCAA, 2005). Prior to the NCAA ruling, the College had already formed a taskforce and took proactive steps over the previous years by discontinuing the College’s mascot and removing all renderings of Native Americans across campus citing the representations were not of Catawba Indians and their culture.
- Fact: In October of 2005, the Catawba College Board of Trustees authorized a formal appeal to the NCAA for the continued use of the athletic nickname, Indians. The late Chief Gilbert Blue of the Catawba Nation spoke directly with the NCAA chair of the appeals committee, Dr. Bernard Franklin, and voiced support for the College to continue using Indians as the College’s athletic nickname. In May 2006, the NCAA ruled Catawba College can use without penalty the athletic nickname, Catawba Indians, citing support from the Catawba Nation as the rationale for the continued use. The College continues to use the athletic nickname, Catawba Indians, still today (Gocatawbaindians.com, May 30, 2006).
- Fact: In 2007, Catawba College and the Catawba Nation came to an agreement for the continued use of the athletic nickname, Catawba Indians, in exchange for a full-tuition scholarship for a Catawba Nation student every four years. This scholarship agreement remained in effect through the 2021-22 academic year, until the number of scholarships was increased this year. No other symbol or logo was included as part of this agreement.
- Fact: In the Spring 2022, Catawba College and the Catawba Nation entered into a new agreement to offer a full-tuition scholarship on an annual basis to a Catawba Nation citizen and mutually pledged to continue strengthening our partnership through additional educational pathways and opportunities in the new future. No other terms were part of this agreement (Salisbury Post, April 8, 2022).
- Fact: In April 2022, Catawba College announced the return of the College’s historic block C as the official athletic logo of the College. The historic block C logo served the College for the greatest length of time in the College’s history (Catawba College, April 26, 2022).
- Fact: The College’s administration was responsible for the re-adoption of the historic block C as the College’s official athletic logo. Catawba College students did not petition nor request the retirement of any previous athletic logo, nor were the previous collection of athletic logos used from the 1980s to 2022 retired due to a request from the NCAA, the Catawba Nation, or any other entity or agreement. Furthermore, the previous athletic logos were not retired because they included elements often associated with Native American imagery. Instead, the re-adoption of the historic block C was done as part of an overall branding strategy the College has undertaken over the past year (Salisbury Post, May 4, 2022).
- Fact: As the College has not had a sponsored mascot since the early 2000s, the College has begun the process of exploring the adoption of an official mascot. Regardless of the adoption of the mascot, the College’s athletic nickname remains the Catawba Indians with the continued support of the Catawba Nation.
- Fact: The Catawba Nation’s Two Kings Casino is located in King’s Mountain, NC and not in South Carolina. The Catawba Nation is instead located in South Carolina (Twokingscasino.com).
Writing on behalf of the College, Dr. Jared Tice serves as senior vice president for the College experience and dean of students at Catawba College since 2018