December 23, 2021 Casino, Legal, Land Based

Congress passes defense bill in favor of the Catawba Nation

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This could possibly settle a land dispute between the Catawba and Cherokee tribes.

Congress recently passed a federal bill that could settle a North Carolina land dispute between two Native American tribes and allow North Carolina’s newest casino in Charlotte to keep operating.

The decision came from a provision found in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill funded military operations, including making improvements to three bases in North Carolina.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Catawba Nation both claim that 17 acres of land in Kings Mountain originally belonged to their tribe. The bill Congress passed is in favor of the Catawba and allows the tribe to build a casino in Kings Mountain.

The Cherokee has not commented on the NDAA at this time but had released a previous statement on the tribe’s website regarding the bill, stating, “This flawed decision is a plain example of ‘reservation shopping,’ the practice of casino developers pairing a willing Indian tribe with a city or county open to a casino and seeking to have the Federal Government create a new reservation outside the willing tribe’s aboriginal territory. Both Congress and Indian Country have repeatedly denounced the practice of reservation shopping, and have repeatedly engaged the Department of the Interior to press for changes in the Department’s rules to limit these kinds of deals.”

The Catawbas estimate building the casino will create thousands of construction jobs and around 2,600 permanent jobs at the casino and boost the local economy.

“Make no mistake, this legislation means more people will have good-paying jobs, more kids will have a better education and more people will have better housing and health care,” Catawba Tribal Chief Bill Harris said. “That’s what this bill really means.” Every member of North Carolina’s delegation voted in favor of the NDAA, except for Rep. Dan Bishop, who took issue with some of the military requirements within it.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill.

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