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Interview: Gilbert Blue, former Catawba Nation chief



The Charlotte Observer interviews Gilbert Blue, the former chief of the Catawba Nation of South Carolina. Blue, 74, retired last year after more than 30 years in charge of the tribe.

"Q. Since retiring as chief, how are you keeping busy?

A: I love to work in wood, and I build outdoor furniture. I'm not the best at it, but it keeps me busy. The rest of the time I'm working in the backyard doing honey-do projects. We also have three grandchildren who come every Wednesday and we spend three or four hours with them.

Since I have a little more time, I visit with schools a good bit. I just went to two of my grandchildren's schools. And last week I spoke to a law class at USC on Indian law.

Other than that, I lay around and take it easy.

Q. You were an avid guitar player and singer. Are you still performing?

A: I'm visiting two assisted living homes a month. Two other guys help me do a 45-minute program of country and rock 'n' roll, then a session of gospel. I also spend some time with a soup kitchen, the third Thursday of each month.

And then I play down in Blackstock (S.C.), every Friday night. We just have a group of guys we pick up and play ... mostly country and bluegrass.

Q. What's your relationship with the Catawba Nation?

A: I keep in contact with them, with the seniors mostly. They serve lunch to the seniors every day, and sometimes I go down and visit. But for the most part I don't get involved. I did that for 34 years."

Get the Story:
A life of woodwork, honey-dos (The Charlotte Observer 2/18)

Relevant Links:
Catawba Cultural Preservation Project - http://www.ccppcrafts.com

Related Stories:
Catawba Nation to hold first meeting since election (9/7)
Catawba Nation elects first women to council (7/30)
Catawba Nation elects first chief in over 30 years (7/23)
Catawba Nation elects first new leader in decades (7/16)
Catawba Nation moves ahead with new leader (5/24)