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CAT 55 A DMC
Subject: Pam Thatcher
Date: Sept. 26, 1972
I: This is an interview with Pam Thatcher, Sept. 26 in the
classroom, Rock Hill High School, Mrs. Whitesell doing
the interview. Pam, tell us about yourself
S: My name is Doris Pamela Thatcher. I live one mile off the
Catawba Indian reservation. I have three brothers and one
sister. I live at home. I've lived--I've lived on the
reservation most all of my life except for about 3
years I lived in Mass-cW&SAWS
I: Alright, uhm, where does your dad work?
S: He's a painter.
E Is this what carried you into other states?
S: Yes mam.
I: Did you find that you gained some experiences living in
a state like MassiAthat you might not have gained back on
S: No, I don't think so. I was to.young.
I: You were just a small child there. Uh, when you moved back to
the reservation, did you go to school on the reservation?
S: Yes mam. My first four years in school were on the reservation.
I: Do you remember who your teachers were?
S: Yes mam. We had two teachers for four grades. One teacher for
first and second grade, and another teacher for third and fourth.
I: Do you remember their names?
CAT 55 A page 2
S: Yes mam, Mrs. Poinis(?) was our first and second grade teacher
and Mrs. Robinson was third and fourth grade teacher.
I: Did you enjoy going to school at that early age?
S: Yes mam.
I: Did you have a lot of fun outside the classrooms during the
S: Yes mam. We stayed outside most all the time.
I: Well, I noticed you have a from playing football,
I suppose you like sports.
S: I love it.
1! What are some of the things you enjoy?
S: I love dancing, for one thing and I love swimming and I love
badmitton and football.
I: Uh huh. What were some of the courses that you studied in
school on the reservation?
S: We just studied first grade stuff, I guess__ had math
I: Well, what grade were you in when you left the school on
S: I startedto go to Leslie Elementary when went into the 5th grade.
I: Did your parents move, or what caused this change?
S: No mam. Uh, the Catawba school only went through grades 1 thru
4th so, I had to go to Leslie.
I: Uh huh. Was it a big change for you?
S: Yes mam. It was too big.
CAT 55 A page 3
I: can you remember?
S: I wanted t go home every day, which I did.
I: You did? How did you manage that?
S: I'd jsgt call my mother and she came and picked me up. I
told her I was sick most of the time.
I: Uh huh. I wonder why you felt that way?
S: I don't know. I was too scared, I think.
I: Do you have any idea why_ something like that?
S: I didn';ave any people I knew in my classes.
I: What happened to the other students o-the reservation?
Were they in Leslie too?
S: Yes mam, but it--it was just--they were all spread out.
I: Uh huh, quite a change. Uh, how long did it take you
to get adjusted?
S: About a year.
I; What do you think now? Looking back, do you think you were
better off making the change to Leslie, or would you have been
better-staying at Catawba for a few more years?
S: I don't think if I stayed in Catawba that I would have
been as well educated because once I got adjusted to Leslie,
I got along real good with the other kids and the teachers.
I: Uhm, what were some to the things that you did
You think you can remember some of the things that you
S: We used to play all kinds of games at recess. Used to play
tag, andhen we'd play ball. We used to play everything.
I: Did you have difficulty getting to school?
CAT 55 A page 4
S: No mam. In the first thru the fourth grades, the bus
took us as far as the school. We had to walk home after
school because it didn't come by, and then, when we went
to Leslie, the bus would take us out there and bring us
I: Uh huh, so you didn't have any big problem there.
I: When you went toleslie, did you feel discriminated against,
or did anyone say anything to hurt your feelings?
S: No, they couldn't tell I was Indian.
I: Okay. Uhm, uh, just how did you manage being an Indian
with youlonde hair and blue eyes?
S: I'm one fourth Indian, I'm part Catawba and part Oneida (?)
My father is part Oneida and Catawba. My mother is almost
I: Oh, your father has Oneida. Is this an Indian tribe too?
S: Yes mam.
I: Well, tell us something about that! Do you know anything?
S: I don't know much about it except that it's mostly in
Wisconsin, where they came from.
I: Uh huh. Uh, and this is another tribe and your father is
from that. That's very interesting. So, you have Oneida
and Catawba, blood.'
S: Yes mam.
I: Alright uhm, but, it is difficult to tell you are an Indian.
S: It is.
I: Do your other brothers and sisters look like you, or do
they resemble Indians a little more?
CAT 55 A page 5
S: My brothers--two of them have dark hair and dark skin,
But, my little brother has blonde hair and brown eyes
and, he's not dark skinned at all. My sister is just
I: Uh huh. What do you think is going to happen in a few more
years with this business of Indians becoming blondes with
S: You can't find a dark skinned Indian anymore. Not down where
I: Uh huh. Do you think that this is gonna be good, if you
won't be able to be an Indian?
S: N', I was brought up by this thing about, 'you know you're
an Indian, and if u show it, you should be very proud of
I: What would you like to see happen with this business of
your Indian culture?
S: I don't know.
I: Your past, would you like to know the language, or the songs
or making pottery, or things like this?
S: I wouldn't like to make pottery because I've seen my grand-
mother do it a lot and I don't think I'd enjoy that, but,
this language, I've seen some and my cousin speaks a little.
I: You think it's difficult to learn.
S: Yes mam.
I: Uh, what would you like for the Catawbas to do as a tribe,
CAT 55 A page 7
S: I don't know, we used to uh, put on war dances and stuff
for little kids birthday parties and show them what
Indians looked like but, most of us were almost all
white, so they didn't know what they were seeing.
I: Uh huh, just the costumes to play in, uh, to
them. Do you think the day's coming real soon, when uh
there won't be such a thing as a Catawba Indian?
S: Yes mam.
1: Uh, would you like to stop this, or--or are you in
favor of this change?
S: I don't care. If youvant to marry a white person
you marry him. If you want to marry an Indian, you
marry him. But, most all the people on the reservation
arei:related so, you couldn't marry them. You'd have
to marry into another tribe.
I: Uh huh. You think it's better to marry outside
then to try to preserve the Catawba bloodline?
S: Yes mam.
I: Uh, what are some of the things that you have liked
about your high school experience?
S: You get to meet a lot of people and you learn not to
be predjudice against blacks, or whites. Mostly, I
like blacks better than whites, because I think they
associate with people better.
I: Alright, what about some of your subjects that you've
taken here? Do you recall your best likes?
S: The best likes I had was psychology.
CAT 55 A page 8
I: Okay, do you know why?
S: I like to learn about people's emotions and people's
acts and then understand why they do things.
I: Uh huh. What did you not like?
S: I did notlike historyand math.
I: Okay, uh, how about the governing of the school? Uh, did you
find this easy, or to excess, or difficult?
S: I think it's easy to accept. Anything can find something
wrong if they look for it hard enough, but, if you're
just out to get a good education and to learn all you
can while you're there, you don't mind the way the school's
going. You just
I: Do you feel the Indian students in the high schools get
a "_U deal, generally speaking?
S: There's not many Indians here and they get pretty fair
I: Uh, do you get courses on Indians in your history classes?
S: I did last year. We've been fving history of Indians since
about fifth grade, I think.
I: Uh huh. They usually bring out about the Catawba history?
S: Uh huh.
I: Do you think Indian .students generally like this, like to
S: They're a little embarrassed, but, I think it's fun to tell
somebody something they don't know.
I: 14 enjoy this exchange with other students, talking about
CAT 55 A page 9
different things about the Indians.
S: Yes mam, you--uh, you could tell them things they would
not believe you ever did.
S: I'm a senior in high school right now, but I don't know what
I'm gonna do in the future, but, I know want to get married
and settle down and have lots of kids.
I: You believe in big families?
S: Yes mam.
I: Well, how does that tie in with women's liberation today?
S: I don't like this stuff about women's lib. One thing I
don't understand at all, and I'm not gonna
because I think the woman's place is in the home, trying
to raise up your kids to get in this environment you
have to grow up, and to associate with all the different
kinds c people.
I: Well, how do you square with this idea that the world's
getting to crowded and we ought to limit the
S: I don't think people should tell you how many children you
should have because God give us all down here and if it
gets too crowded he knows, and he's gonna do something
I: Alright, what do you think about this thing about abortion,
people who say, uh, today,'I have to work' or I don-t
want a large family.
S: If they're not married and they're having sexual relations
CAT 55 A page 10
with people, this is not right because you d--you should
not do this until afterou get married and if they have
an abortion it's their fault, I think, that
I: You wouldn't advocate it then, you
S: No mam.
I: How do yo think the Catawbas feel 0uL _____
Do you t ink you're speaking as uh,/the Catawbas generally
would feel this way?
S: Yes, mnam. I think that because of our religion.
I: You think it is your religion then that uh, has 'M C
marry, had a family and
S: Uh huh.
I: Okay, waft about the drug scene, where do you stand on
S: I could not take it, or, I just couldn't because I've seen
what it does to people and you read about it all the time,
and, it's not worth messing up your whole life when
you're just like us just to have one good time.
I: Do you see drugs pass hands?
S: I did only once and
I: Okay, uh, do you think drugs are common out here? I say out
here, I mean among this age group.
S: I don't know. I think--I think it just comes in fads, or whatever.
Sometimes it comes real strong and then other times it
just slacks off.
I: If you could judge, make a judgement, would you think that
the average Catawba, high school age student, would be more
CAT 55 A page 11
likely, or less likely to take drugs than the average
S: I'd say, they would be less likely, again, because of
their religion. Because we were brought up that these things
are all wrong.
I: Okay, uh, what do you think about this year's election. Are
you interested in it?
S: I'm interested in it, but, I don't pay much attention to it
because I'm always outside. I hardly ever like to/read the
paper or anything.
I: You spend a good bit of your time outdoors?
S: Yes mam.
I: Are you interested in the outcome of the presidential
S: I am but, I don't know.
I: You haven't taken a stand one way or another on a candidate?
S: I haven't taken a stand on it.
I: Uh, if someone asked you now, which would you favor at this
point, would you say McGovern or Nixon?
S: I'd say Nixon.
I: You would? Do you have any reason for it?
S: I've heard his name a lot?
I: Oh, okay. Uh, do you play to take a look at their stands somewhere
S: Between now, and November, yes mam, I do.
I: Are you old enough to vote?
CAT 55 A page 12
S: No mam.
I: Oh, you will be in the next presidential election.
If you could do something for the Catawba Indians, what
would you do?
S: If I could do anything I would say then that they're out in
this world for purpose and that's to use their education
and their abilities and talents to do all they can for
the people around them. Not just Indians, but whites, or
blacks, or anybody.
I: Alright. Do you think the Catawbas ought to have a chief
now, or someone to guide them or, not?
S: I don't think we should have a chief, because I think we
would get awfully laughed at. Everbody else has a chief,
but, uh, I think we should-be different. We shouldn't
want to be like everybody else, every other tribe.
I: Alright. Pam, do you help at home?
S: Yes mam. I prepare the meals, most of the time, because
my mother gets home after I do and my father comes home
right after I do and if I don't prepare a meal for him, he
might get mad.
I: Alright. Your mother works too then.
S: Yes mam.
I: Where does she work?
S: She works in a small grocery store about seven miles from
I: Alright, uh, besides helping around the house with meals, what
else do you do at home?
CAT 55 A page 16
S: I sew a lot.
I: Do you make cloths for yourself?
S: Yes mam. I don't like to sew for other people, because
you can't please them, like you can yourself. You can
display your own individual taste when you sew.
I: Did you make that uh?
S: No mam, I didn't.
I: That's a very pretty--I don't know what you call it, just
a smock I know. Everybody's wearing smocks this year.
I: So, that's a very pretty one. I'll bet you could make one
S: I've made two but they're not exactly like this.
I: Uh huh. Do you think a person can express themselves
just as well sewing as they can making pottery?
S: I don't know. I think--I think they could.
I: Uh, do you sew often, I mean every
S: I sew, most every day, I think. /I don't do it for
myself, I'm always fixing something for my brother, or
my sister, or my mother.
I: _that can sew?
S: Well, my mother sews and I got that from her and I started
sewing when I was 11, then, my sister picked it up too. So,
most everybody in our house can sew.
I: That's real good. Do you think the other kids out on the
reservation in that area enjoy doing things like that?
AT 55 A page 17
S: Mos f the girls don't know how to sew. I don't know
what they do, and they don't know how to cook either.
I think they just--they're just there, not doing anything.
I: Uh huh. Do you think this is because of their situation
in their home, maybe.
S: Yes mam. If their mother's don't try to teach them anything,
they just don't want to learn.
I: Do many of the people still make quilts and things like
S: Yes mam. A lot of them do. Not as much as they used to.
I the past few years, it's slacked off a lot.
I: Uh, where do you go to church, Pam.
S: Uhm, I go to church at the Church of Jesus Christ of
Later Day Saints, but, we're all called Mormons.
I: Your parents were both Mormons?
S: Yes mam.
I: Uh, was your mother a Mormon from childhood?
S: No mam, she was converted in 1958.
I: Is she from Rock Hill, too?
S: No mam. She's from Georgia.
I: Her home's in Georgia.
S: Yes mam.
I: Uh, are you native in church with your family.
S: Not as a family but, my mother and I and my sister and
one brother, we're all very active.
I: /You enjoy your church activities?
S: Yes man. I love them.
I: What are some of the things you enjoy doing?
CAT 55 a page 18
S: Well, I--right now I f _- iS practicing for a football
thing in one of cour states and we just--in the mornings
at ten minutes to 7 we go to a bible class and I love that.
We just have different activities every month.
I: That's kind of early to get up in the morning, isn't it?
S: I'm used to it now.
I: You got used to it. Uh, do you consider yourself an active
S: Yes mam.
I: Yo u like to keep busy?
S: Yes mam.
I: Do you consider your parents strict or lenient?
S: I think they're both. They have this thing about I
couldn't date until I was fifteen, but I didn't mind that
too much, but, they think I'm supposed to double date
until I'm eighteen because they cbn't want me to go
bad or something.
I: Do you think they're keeping a closer eye on you, a dauther, than
they do pn their ans?
S: Yes mam, I know they do.
I: Okay, do they--do they decide among them who's the head
of the house, or can you tell right now, who the head
of your house is?
S: I can tell you right now, my father is the head of the
I: Okay, uh, he has ths final say-so on
CAT 55 A page 19
I: Everything? Alright, uh, are you going to be strict with
S: Not as strict as my parents were with them. I think
they deprived me of lots of things. If they don't
like the person I'm with they'll tell me. And, they'll
tell me why. But, I think you should be able to make
your own decisions when you're 17 and know what kind of
people you want to be with and what kind of children you
want to raise up yourself.
I: You think then, you're gonna let -your children, when
they're 17, associate with whoever they choose?
S: I'll tell them when I think they're going wrong, but,
they have to make it their own decision theirself because
if you just tell them, "You just can't ass ciate with this
person anymore." they'll go and sneak behind your back
and do it because you see it all the time.
I: Uh, do you have any plans other than this, wht you're gonna
do with your own children? Some deffLnate ideas?
S: I know that I'm gonna be married in the temple and I'm
gonna have all my children_
When we raise we'll do them--have them
I: You re making long range plans, are you?
S: Yes mam. That's what we're taught to do.