USC Lancaster opened a new Native American Studies Center yesterday. Located in Downtown Lancaster, the building is home to the world’s largest collection of Catawba Indian pottery.
The director of Native American Studies, Dr. Stephan Criswell said that having the center off campus, helps link students to the community of Lancaster.
To make sure the Native American Studies Center upholds its mission to educate, Criswell said they will always allow Native Americans to display and exhibit their culture.
Tribal chiefs from across the state attended the grand opening Thursday, including Chief Harold Hatcher from the Waccamaw Indians of South Carolina. Hatcher said opening this center is very significant milestone for Native Americans everywhere.
During the opening ceremony, the University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said that by opening this center, students will now have a realistic look at the items they are learning about in class.
The historical and educational center is home to the world’s largest collection of Catawba Indian pottery. With over 200,000 artifacts dating all the back to the Ice Age, Pastides said this center will attract people from all throughout the country.
The Native American studies program is the only one of its kind in the state.
The center is open to the public at no charge from Tuesday to Sunday.