Basic information


Language family Siouan-Catawban
  • Catawban
Language codes

The Catawban languages, also known as the Eastern Siouan languages, are a small language family formerly spoken by Native American populations in the eastern United States. It is a subfamily of the larger Siouan-Catawban language family.

Family divisionEdit

Catawban langs

Pre-contact distribution of the Catawban languages.

The Catawban language family consists of two languages:

Both of the Catawban languages are now extinct. Gordon (2005) reports that the last native speaker of Catawba died before 1960. Red Thunder Cloud, an impostor born as Cromwell Ashbie Hawkins West, claimed to have spoken the language until his death in 1996.[1] The Catawba tribe is currently working to restore the language.

Woccon became extinct during the early 18th century after the Tuscarora conquered the Woccon and replaced the language with their own.


  1. Ives Goddard, "The Identity of Red Thunder Cloud", Smithsonian Institution, reprinted from Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas Newsletter, April 2000, accessed 8 Apr 2010
  • Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (Ed.). (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the world (15th ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International. ISBN 1-55671-159-X. (Online version:
  • Parks, Douglas R.; & Rankin, Robert L. (2001). The Siouan languages. In R. J. DeMallie (Ed.), Handbook of North American Indians: Plains (Vol. 13, Part 1, pp. 94-114). W. C. Sturtevant (Gen. Ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 0-16-050400-7.


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