About Us


Greetings from the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project

As early as 1989, a group of Catawba met in member’s homes to organize a cultural preservation committee and began efforts to collect and preserve scrapbooks, letters, diaries and photographs. The committee formally incorporated in 1989, as the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project (CCPP) with the simple yet critical mission to “preserve, protect, promote and maintain the rich culture and heritage of the Catawba Indian Nation.” Located on the Catawba Indian Reservation, the Cultural Center is housed in the historic school house. It is host to the historic Yehasuri trail and provides cultural immersion classes to Catawba children and adults.

The Cultural Center is responsible for the operation of the following:

  • Camp Kic a Wah: an At-Risk afterschool and summer cultural immersion camp for Tribal youth.
  • Archives: the official repository of the Tribe’s historical records.
  • Archaeology: identification and preservation of Catawba historic site information and artifacts under the direction of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office.
  • Cultural Programming: standard cultural and heritage programs include history, language, pottery demonstration, drumming and dancing. 
  • Craft Store: a unique retail store featuring items made by Catawba artists and artisans.

One of the earliest initiatives of CCPP was the promotion of Catawba traditional arts and crafts. The craft store was established to provide a retail outlet for Catawba artists and artisans to sell their wares. Proceeds from the sale of the items on this website help to support not only the Catawba artists and artisans, but also provides support to Camp Kic a Wah and tribal youth. So, every time you make a purchase, you are helping to ensure the continued survival of the Catawba culture.

The Catawba Indian Reservation is located in the southeastern portion of York County, South Carolina and is the only federally recognized Indian tribe in South Carolina.
We invite you to come see all CCPP has to offer. Feel free to contact us Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. 
Telephone: 803-328-2427
Address: 1536 Tom Steven Road
Rock Hill, SC 29730

On behalf of all the artists and artisans and the children of Camp Kic a Wah, thank you for your support!


Meet Our Staff

 Left to Right: Kristine Carpenter, Ashley Sexton, Caitlin Totherow, Dr. Wenonah G. Haire DMD, Beckee Garris, Jenna Hunter, and Tonya Rice (Not pictured: Kathy Brown)
Kristine Carpenter
Educational Programs Director
Kristine is the granddaughter of Mary Jane Blue and great granddaughter of Chief Nelson Blue. Kristine has worked for the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project for 20 years. She is responsible for educational programming for all groups wanting to learn about the Catawba and Native American culture. She loves learning and practicing her culture, as well as sharing with all interested.
Ashley Sexton
Archives Department 
Ashley is the great granddaughter of Mary Jane Blue and great, great granddaughter of Chief Nelson Blue. Ashley has been involved with the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project since she was a toddler. She started volunteering in cultural programming at age three and has been active with the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project since. She was brought on staff in 2013 to work in children's services. From there, she transferred to the Archives Department in 2015. She has completed her School Age Credential and South Carolina Health and Safety Pre-Service Certificate for Early Care and Education Professional. She has also participated in the Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program in Washington State University for Tribal Archives Training. 
Jenna Hunter
Craft Store Clerk/Children's Services
Jenna is one of the many great, great granddaughters of Chief Samuel Taylor Blue. She works in the Craft Store in the mornings and Children Services in the afternoon. She has taken School Age Credential 101 and South Carolina Health and Safety Pre-Service Certificate for Early Care and Education Professional. It is important to Jenna that her culture lives on through the work she does at the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project.
Tonya Rice
Children Service's Director

As Director of Camp Kic-A-Wah, Tonya is responsible for all the children enrolled in our After School Program, as well as our Summer Immersion Camp and staff for the program. She also co-directs our Tribal 4-H program that is sponsored by Clemson extension. She holds several certificates in Child Education and Food Service. She is planning on returning to school in the fall for completion of her Early Childhood Degree. Her role of Director at the camp is important to her because she is able to help the children learn and grow with an understanding of being important and respectful. She wants all the children to feel loved and understood.  She strives every day to make sure they leave feeling just that way. She enjoys her time at the camp because she gets to be a kid again by playing and watching the children experience life every day.

Caitlin Totherow
Tribal Historic Preservation Office Assistant/Craft Store Director
Caitlin Totherow is the Tribal Historic Preservation Office Assistant and Craft Store Director.   Her mother is Dr. Wenonah Haire, the Executive Director of the Catawba Cultural Center and her grandfather was Evans "Buck" George, the former Assistant Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina. She enjoys her job because she gets to help make sure that our important historical and archaeological sites are protected.  She is also a co-head coach for the Tribes youth running program called the Spirit Sprinters. 
Beckee Garris
Language Coordinator

Beckee Garris was born and raised on the Catawba Indian Reservation in Rock Hill, SC. She is the granddaughter of former Catawba Indian Chief, Albert H. Sanders, and the great granddaughter of former Chief Samuel T. Blue. She works for the Tribal Historic Preservation Office for the Catawba Indian Nation. Beckee works with the Head Start  program teaching the children basic Catawba words and phrases, as well as the numbers 1-10.  She assists with programs that include language and pottery demonstrations. Beckee also helps with THPO projects as needed, as well as helping in the craft store.  She has had selected works published in two folk tale literature. Beckee holds an Associates Degree in Art. 

Wenonah G. Haire, DMD
Executive Director

Wenonah is the Executive Director of the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project. She is also the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.  She is the daughter of former Assistant Chief of the Catawba Indian Nation, Evans M. George, Jr.. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Dentistry in 1972.  In 1979, she graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. She served as a Commissioned Officer of the United States Public Health Service from 1979 to 1982.  She was a White House Conference on Indian Education Delegate in 1992.   She has received numerous certificates for managers from Dale Carnegie, as well as Festival and Events Manager certificates from the Strom Thurmond Institute of Festival and Events Managers workshops and the Smithsonian Institute of Museums and Native People's workshop, as well as a Certified Grants Specialist Certificate.  She has served on the following boards: Nation Ford Land Trust Board member, York County and Convention and Visitor's Bureau board member for over 11 years, and the Rock Hill Arts Council.  The committees that she has served on includes the: Rock Hill's Mayor 's committee on Human Relations, Catawba River Heritage Corridor committee member, Multicultural Committee of Rock Hill Arts Council, S.C. Cultural Rural Coordinating Council, Advisory Committee of Catawba Scenic River, Catawba Indian Nation Optimist club, Strategic Management Committee of the Catawba Indian Nation, Catawba Indian Nation Scholarship Committee, Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award Advisory Committee, the Catawba Wateree FERC Relicensing Committee and presently serves on the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) Culture and Heritage Committee for over 10 years. She also served on the USET Education Committee. She is a Clemson  Alumni Fellow and recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the York County Christian Women's Job Corps.  One of her special jobs is leading the Cooking/Nutrition classes for the CCPP Summer Cultural Immersion Program.

Kathy Brown
Assistant Administrator

 Kathy is the Assistant Administrator of the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project.  She is the granddaughter of Mary Jane Blue and great granddaughter of Chief Nelson Blue.  Her primary responsibilities include payroll, human resources, administration, grant writing, budgeting and professional insurance coverage.  She has received training through the Dale Carnegie Course for Leadership training for managers and Dale Carnegie course .  She has received certification on Festival and Event Management, the Falmouth Institute for bookkeeping for grants and contracts, developing a tribal budget, and integrating social services, as well as domestic violence prevention training.