In North Carolina and the federal government has reportedly given the Catawba Indian Nation official permission to bring an envisioned $273 casino resort to 16 acres of land the tribe owns near the small community of Kings Mountain.
According to a report from The Herald newspaper, Thursday saw the United States Department of the Interior take the Cleveland County plot into trust for the federally-recognized tribe so as to pave the way for North Carolina to host a third casino.
The local newspaper reported that the parcel lies only about 30 miles from the region’s largest city, Charlotte, and was bought by the Catawba Indian Nation in 1993 using a portion of the $50 million it received as part of a settlement with the neighboring state of South Carolina. The tribe now purportedly intends to bring a casino resort to the land located alongside Interstate 85 complete with a hotel and multiple restaurants in hopes of creating more than 4,000 permanent jobs and helping it to improve the economic plight of its members.
Bill Harris (pictured), Chief for the Catawba Indian Nation, reportedly told The Herald on Thursday that he was ‘very thankful’ that the United States Department of the Interior had granted his tribe’s land-into-trust petition so as to allow it ‘to achieve the promise of self-determination through economic development’.
Harris reportedly stated…
“This is an economic development project. The fact that the tribe has no economic development currently, that’s the big plus. With that, it allows us to open doors we weren’t able to open before. With this type of project and the revenues that could come from this, it allows us to then purchase lands closer. Then maybe we could start doing some other projects. It’s not about Catawba, it’s about a community project.”
However, the newspaper reported that the decision is set to be contested in court by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which is responsible for North Carolina’s existing Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel facilities. This federally-recognized tribe purportedly earlier described the endeavor from the Catawba Indian Nation as a ‘modern-day land grab’ due to its belief that the rival tribe’s ancestral lands lie across the border in South Carolina.
Harris has reportedly countered by explaining that the Catawba Indian Nation has long considered all of South Carolina as well as a number of counties along the southern border of North Carolina to be part of its ancestral lands. He purportedly moreover used his tribe’s connection to the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780 as evidence of its historical claim to the contentious plot.
Reportedly read the statement from Harris…
“The land is located in close proximity to our current landholdings and is our ancestral land in an area that the Catawba people have used and occupied since time immemorial.”