ROCK HILL, S.C. — A document that appeared on “Antiques Roadshow” proved how two members of the Catawba Nation were stranded in Europe centuries ago on what they thought was a professional trip.
“As colonization kind of happened, a lot of our history was lost,” said Teresa Dunlap, a member of the Catawba Nation. “So it’s very few and far between to have something as concrete documentation as this.”
A woman brought the document to a taping of “Antiques Roadshow” in Raleigh and learned it was an authentic contract between two businessmen.
The contract asked two male members of the Catawba Nation to travel with them to Europe and perform Native American dances and songs.
Ensley Guffey, archivist for the Catawba Nation, recognized the story, saying it has been passed down orally by the Catawba people for generations.
“They were to transport them, take care of them, return them to North Carolina, pay each of them $100,” said Guffey.
However, that never happened.
“Neither of them made it back to America,” Guffey explained. “There’s a story that one remained in the U.K. and the other managed to book passage but died in the voyage across the Atlantic.”
The owner of the document brought it to the Catawba Nation archives where Channel 9′′s South Carolina reporter Tina Terry went to take a firsthand look at the well-preserved document.
“It apparently had just been kept folded in the box for who knows how long,” Guffey said.
Teresa Dunlaps’s great-grandmother lived on the reservation in Rock Hill where the archives are located. She said she’s heard the story too, and she’s grateful the document will help the community live on.
“Unfortunately, that was a broken promise that was never realized,” Dunlap said. “Kind of just history repeating itself over and over, which is frustrating, but still exciting to have documentation that what we believed happened really did happen.”
Guffey explained the document revealed the names of the Catawba men, and he hopes it help find their modern-day relatives.
The document was appraised at $3,000.
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