The Catawba face an invisible enemy

We check in with the Catawba Indian Nation in South Carolina to see how COVID-19 is impacting that community. Plus we'll give you an update on all things sports for Indian Country.
Publish date:

As we continue to cover the coronavirus pandemic, we are checking in with tribal leaders to see how this global health crisis is impacting the people and the businesses. There is only one federally recognized tribe in South Carolina and that’s the Catawba Indian Nation. Bill Harris is the chief of the Catawba Indian Nation which has more than 3,000 citizens enrolled in the tribe.

Like many things, sports are slowly coming back to Indian Country. And since there’s so much happening in the world of Indian Country sports, we are creating a monthly segment to get updates on Native athletes. We have invited Brent Cahwee to give us this monthly update. Brent is the co-founder of NDN Sports, a digital website, which covers Native athletes at the high school, college, and professional levels. 

A slice of our Indigenous world

Find more details on these stories at the top of today's newscast.

Some quotes from today's show

Bill Harris:

"I don't think this global pandemic anybody was prepared for I don't know how you would actually prepare for something of this magnitude. When you look at the fact that you're facing an invisible enemy it's hard to map out a plan to defeat it. But I will say that the greater minds, far greater than mine have actually decided, okay let's go back to what mother nature has provided us."

"And that is herd immunity. And let's focus in on that. So I think we can do this. We just have to just get focused and make sure that everybody is aware that you can't just let somebody else carry the water for you on this when you need to carry the water yourself. Oddly enough, the first time in Catawba history, we declared a state of of national emergency for the Catawba nation."

"And with that, we imposed restrictions that had never been imposed on tribal citizens before. And the people responded in a positive way in the beginning, they thought, well, why are we doing this? But once we were able to have the conversation with them and explain to them this is something that we haven't experienced except going back to 1918."

Brent Cahwee:

"Janee Kassanavoid, she's a competitor in the hammer throw event and a few weekends ago, she competed at the USA track and field throw festival in Tucson, Arizona. And she set a personal record in the hammer throw of 75 and a half meters which is a personal best for her. She's obviously she's trying to make the Olympic team in the event. And she had three American competitors finish in front of her."

"We have three Native athletes in the basketball league. Lindy Waters, III who's Kiowa and Cherokee. He most recently graduated from Oklahoma State University. We also have Wayne Runnels, who's a Cheyenne and Arapaho. He played at Creighton University for his collegiate years. And then finally we have Chance Comanche, who is Choctaw and Comanche, who played at University of Arizona for his collegiate career."

"I've been to about three high school prep tournaments in the past month or so. I've been to Oklahoma City, Phoenix and Kansas. And I ran into a young gentleman by the name of Juju Ramirez, who's from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe. And he's an outstanding athlete playing at a prep school in New Hampshire and he has a scholarship. He has a scholarship offer from the University of Kansas Jayhawks, which is one of the top blue blood programs in all of college basketball."

Thank you for watching!

ICT logo bridge

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support Indian Country Today for as little as $10.