Catawba leader. Chief Gilbert Blue of the Catawba Nation was born on December 5, 1933, on the Catawba Indian Reservation to Guy Larson Blue and Eva George Starnes. Chief Blue joined the U.S. Navy in 1951, serving until 1960. While in the navy, he earned his GED and went on to take some college courses. He married Elizabeth Sharpe in October 1963. They have three children.
The grandson of former chief Samuel Taylor Blue, Gilbert Blue was elected chief of the Catawba Tribe of South Carolina in 1973. Under Chief Blue’s leadership, the Catawba successfully pursued their lawsuit against the state of South Carolina for land claims under the Nations Ford Treaty of 1840 and their quest for the reinstatement of status as a federally recognized Indian tribe. The Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina Land Claims Settlement Act of 1993, which provided for resolution of both demands, was passed by Congress in 1993, and the final agreement was signed by South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell on November 29, 1994.
Chief Blue has been active in Native American issues and organizations. He was elected to the board of directors of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in 1996 and served as chairman of its board in 2000 and 2001. He is the representative for the Catawba to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and has served on the state board of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He was an original board member of the Rock Hill “No Room for Racism” Committee and has been involved in numerous other civil rights issues. He is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in which he has served in various leadership positions.
Newhall, Richard. “Catawbas’ Chief Values Traditions.” Rock Hill Evening Herald, September 26, 1973, pp. 1, 14.