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UNC Alumna and trained historian, Dr. Brooke Bauer, graduated in May 2016 with a strong hope and desire to give back to her Catawba Indian Nation. Upon graduation, Dr. Bauer relocated to Rock Hill, South Carolina and began working as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, teaching Native American studies and early American history.

Dr. Bauer received a Doctorate of Philosophy in History with her studies concentrating on the areas of 18th Century Colonial U.S. History and Anthropology. Her thesis explored how women were fundamental to the continuity of the Catawba Nation, both culturally and physically.

Most recently, Dr. Bauer mobilized her academic experience to fulfill her hope of giving back to the community that once helped her. She has served her Nation by highlighting the Catawba People’s traditional way of making pottery. Through her efforts, she has brought awareness of Catawba culture and history to a larger audience.

An excerpt from an article highlighting her accomplishments is provided below. Click the embedded link to read more.

Brooke Bauer grew up listening to the voices of native women sitting in the shade of a huge oak tree in front of her grandmother’s home on the Catawba Indian Reservation. Unlike her grandmother, Brooke was allowed to attend public school. She dreamed of college, but put that on hold and devoted herself to her children.  Dr. Brooke Bauer, 49, is the first Catawba Indian ever to earn a PhD and is now a professor at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, teaching Native American studies and early American history. Bauer humbly expressed gratitude for the many who supported her through the years. “I realize the degree is not only for me,” she said. “It is a way of pushing back against colonialism and oppression to give back to my people.” Bauer’s work and life is the product of hard-working Catawba women. Her thesis showed how the women provided continuity for the Catawba tribe culturally through their pottery and physically with creative land-leasing. Their pottery became an integral part of the Catawba economy from the late 1700s through the 20th century. Today the tribe numbers fewer than 3,000. Dr. Brooke Bauer lived that history, and now she teaches it. Click here to read more.” (Source:

We, at the American Indian Center, applaud her work and congratulate her for accomplishing one of her dreams.



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