Federal review of Catawba Nation off-reservation drags along

Artist's rendering of proposed Catawba Nation casino in North Carolina. Image from Catawba Nation Project Brief

It could take years before the Bureau of Indian Affairs reaches a decision on an off-reservation casino for the Catawba Nation, a supporter in North Carolina said.

The tribe submitted the land-into-trust application for the 16-acre site in September 2013. It's being reviewed by the agency and by the Interior Department Solicitor, according to David Dear of the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership.

“It has been reviewed for the past three or four months by the Solicitor General’s Office,” Dear told The Shelby Star. “It is right on target.”

The Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina Land Claims Settlement Act requires the BIA to place up to 3,600 acres in trust for the tribe in North Carolina and South Carolina. The service area includes the county where the tribe wants to build the $600 million casino.

“The ultimate decision is a federal decision,” Dear told the paper. “At the local level, it is not their decision to make. If it meets federal law, it will go through.”

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