Although recognized by South Carolina, the Catawba did not receive federal recognition until 1941. In 1959 they petitioned Congress to terminate their tribal status, and tribal landholdings were distributed among the membership during 1962. The final tribal role call of that year gave a population of a little over 600.
After termination, many Catawba emigrated to the Choctaw in southeast Oklahoma. After a change of heart in 1973, the Catawba tribal council was reorganized and recognized by the state of South Carolina.
During 1994, the Catawba regained federal recognition after a lengthy court battle.