SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Interviewee: JoAnn George Bauer
Interviewer: Emma Echols
September 7, 1992
E: This is Emma Echols, 5150 Sharon Tower, Charlotte, North Carolina. I am working
on the oral history of the Catawba Indians for the University of Florida. [Today is
September 7, 1992.] I am visiting the reservation in a home where three generations
have lived. I have visited Edith Brown, and then I visited her daughter [Evelyn
George] a few moments ago, and now I am visiting the granddaughter [JoAnn
George Bauer]. This little house on the top of the hill has many memories of Edith
Brown and Evelyn George, and now I am talking to her daughter. When I was
visiting Gilbert Blue he mentioned to me the number of Catawba Indians who have
gone on into the business world in various ways. I have one who has gone out into
business and made a real name for herself. I am going to let her tell you her name.
Tell us your name.
B: I am JoAnn Bauer. My maiden name is George.
E: And your mother is?
B: My mother is Evelyn George.
E: And your father?
B: My father is Marvin George.
E: And your grandparents?
B: My mother's parents are Edith Brown and Early Brown, and my father's parents
were John George and . Gosh, I cannot remember her first name. I do not
remember her. I never knew her.
E: That's all right.
B: I do not remember her maiden name.
E: That's all right. Now, you have come from a long line of pottery makers. Do you
make any pottery yourself?
B: I have just started classes back in April of 1992, which this is. I think I am doing
pretty good. [laughter]
E: Well, tell me first of all where you got your education.
B: I had some schooling here on the reservation when I was younger, some grammar
school. Then I went to a boarding school for a couple years in Cherokee, North
Carolina, and I went to Rock Hill High School. That is where I finished high school.
E: Did they treat you nice at the high school in Rock Hill?
B: Mostly we were treated nice, but we were treated a minority, which we are. That
does not say that everybody treated us like that.
E: Then after you finished high school where did you go for training for your beauty
B: I was living in Texas, and I went to beauty school there. I moved back to Rock Hill
in the meantime and finished up in Rock Hill. I have worked at different shops in
E: Now, tell me how many years you have been working as a beautician and where you
B: I have been working about seventeen years as a hairdresser, and I am currently
employed at Westminster Towers. That is a retirement home.
E: How many hours do you work a week?
B: A bunch! [laughter] I work four days a week, but I work long hours each day. It
is hard to say how many hours because hairdressers do not have set hours. We are
just there as we are needed.
E: That is true. Now, it is unusual to my way of thinking that you work in Rock Hill
in that lovely, huge, four-story building, Westminster Towers, and yet your home is
on the reservation. Tell me about your little home.
B: Well, I live in a mobile home on the reservation. I have not always lived on the
reservation. I lived on the reservation when I was young, and then I married and
moved away. I have moved in different states, really. I just moved back to the
reservation a year ago, in fact. Three years ago I moved back to Rock Hill and lived
right at the edge of the reservation but not on the reservation. I have enjoyed
having my little bit of property and taking care of it and having a yard to take care
of. I enjoy yardwork.
E: I noticed you were out in your mother's yard working with the flowers.
B: Right. We got together to clean up my mother's yard today.
E: That is a wonderful thing. Do you go to the church here on the reservation?
B: I am a member of the Mormon church. Right.
E: That is good. What is your relationship between the Indians and the white people?
You are between the two of them, aren't you.
B: Right. Well, I personally have a good relationship with, as you say, the white people.
I do not have any problem with them. Everybody treats me really nice, and of
course I do the same. I think if you treat people nice they are going to treat you
E: You are interested in the settlement the Indians are making. How will it affect you,
and how will it affect your mother?
B: I do not know. It depends on how soon it is settled as to how it will affect us,
especially my mother at her age. It will probably benefit my children and my
grandchildren a lot more than it will me, which is what we are looking for--the
E: What children do you have, and where are they?
B: I have two children; I have a son and a daughter, and they live in Georgia. They
are both in college. My daughter is married and has two children. They [my
children] are both currently in college trying to get an education. So hopefully when
this settlement is finally settled we will get some benefits and it will help them with
E: How old are your children?
B: My daughter is twenty-five, and my son will be twenty-two this month.
E: It is amazing to me, as I look back at the generations that came down, how your
grandmother and your mother and now you--all of you--have that quality of artistic
ability to make things with your fingers. All of you have small, brown hands, and
small feet, too. [laughter] But you have the ability [to make things with your hands].
You and your mother may make the same pottery that somebody else makes, but
it has a distinctive touch. Is that right?
B: That is right. Everybody's is different. It may be the same type piece of pottery, but
each person may make it a little bit different.
E: What pieces do you especially like over there of your mother's or your
grandmother's? You have some of both, don't you?
B: I have some of my grandmother's and my mother's at home. Personally, I like the
wedding vases. I think they are pretty. I like them all, really. [laughter]
E: And you never know the color that will come out until they are fired.
B: No, you don't.
E: Now, how does your mother fire her pottery here?
B: She does it like they have been doing it for hundreds of years. She does it in the
oven and then takes it out and burns it in an open pit with wood and stuff like that.
E: Now, Doris Blue did the same thing.
B: As far as I know, most of them down here do it the same way.
E: So you have a rich heritage, and you are proud to be called a Catawba Indian.
B: Yes, I am.
E: Do you tell people you are a Catawba?
B: Oh, yes.
E: I would. I would be proud of it. Now, is there anything else you would like to tell
about? Your memories of the past here or anything?
B: Well, this house we are sitting in now I remember when I was very young. We had
a home just down the road here, and my uncle lived in this home at that time. I
remember coming up here and playing around in the yard. From what I understand,
this is an old, old home. My father was mentioning it to me just a little while ago;
he was telling me how old it was and who had lived in it years and years ago. I
remember that. I remember different people lived over here in this area on the field
than the ones that are living there now. The house is not even there anymore. I
can vaguely remember different older homes. I remember my grandmother's, Edith
Brown's, old home that was down farther towards the river. It is no longer there
anymore. I can vaguely remember some of the older homes. I can remember the
old church that sat over there on the side of the road.
E: I have a picture of that old church.
B: Do you really?
E: I do! I will have to give it to you. I am so glad you are telling me about these old
things. As I came down today I saw many changes. Even in the old reservation
there are more flowers. The lawns are better kept. Even the trailers are better
B: Oh, yes.
E: There have been a lot of changes.
B: Yes. Well, I think now the young ones are going out in the public and working, and
they do have a little more than they did years ago, and they are able to keep their
places up a lot better than they used to.