Posted: Nov 3, 2021, 5:42 a.m.
Last update on: November 3, 2021, 5:42 a.m.
The United States House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian nation to build a casino in North Carolina.
The Catawba claim ancestral ties to the area around Kings Mountain, near the South Carolina border. The tribe opened a temporary facility in July after getting the go-ahead from the Home Office in March.
The House voted 361-55 in favor of the Catawba Indian Nations Lands Act, which would ratify the DOI’s decision. U.S. Representative Ralph Norman (R), who represents the Catawba Reserve District in Rock Hill, South Carolina, voted against the bill.
“Modern day land grabbing”
The casino is controversial because North Carolina’s only federally recognized tribe, the Eastern Band of Cherokee, disputes the Catawba’s claim to the land. The Cherokees operate the only two casinos in the state with the help of Caesars Entertainment and would prefer that it be so.
They called the Cherokee plans a “modern day land grab” and sued the DOI for approving Catawba’s request under the Indian Gaming Regulation Act (IGRA).
This is because the Catawba specifically agreed to renounce IGRA when they were officially recognized by an act of Congress in 1993. Their efforts to establish bingo and video poker operations in South Carolina were defeated by the State Supreme Court in 2014.
In addition to confirming the DOI’s decision to turn the land over to the Catawba, the bill approved in the House on Tuesday would allow gambling under the IGRA.
He would also declare the tribe exempt from an IGRA clause that states that tribes cannot build casinos on land taken over after the bill was enacted in 1988.
In a statement Wednesday, the Catawba tribe expressed their “thanks and gratitude” to the House for its outspoken approval of the bill.
Like many other cases reflecting the current effects of historic inequalities, the Catawba Nation experiences high rates of unemployment and poverty, and many of its citizens depend on the federal and state governments for basic social services. It said.
“The enactment of this legislation will therefore help the Catawba to achieve economic self-sufficiency as originally envisioned by Congress in passing the Indian Gaming Regulation Act 1988.”
The bill is now heading to the US Senate, which could be a bigger task, although it enjoys bipartisan support. He is defended in the upper house by Sen. Richard Burr (R), who represents the district that contains Kings Mountain, and influential South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham.