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

Bill Graham: Catawba Nation deserves 'fair shake' under federal law

The Catawba Nation is trying to open a casino in North Carolina and is turning to Congress for some help with the long-delayed project. Local attorney and business owner Bill Graham, a former Republivan candidate for governor, explains the need for S.790, a bill that finally makes the tribe eligible for Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, more than 20 years after settling its land claim with the United States:

Although the Catawba Reservation lies just across the South Carolina line on the banks of the Catawba River, the federally recognized tribe’s official service area includes six counties in North Carolina: Rutherford, Cleveland, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union— in other words, metro Charlotte.

Pending federal legislation would authorize the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work with the Catawbas to build a resort with a casino, a 1,500-room hotel, restaurants, shops and other entertainment for those who enjoy such venues.

The resort complex would attract still more development, putting more North Carolinians to work and expanding property, sales and income tax revenue across our region.

I believe the Catawbas deserve the fair shake intended for them under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and a 1993 federal law that needs clarifying to allow the resort project to proceed.

Thankfully, U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, of North Carolina, and Lindsey Graham, South Carolina’s senior senator, have sponsored legislation that would let the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs approve the project and administer the land on which it would be built.

As Sen. Graham has said, “The Catawba Nation has been treated unfairly by the federal government, and our legislation rights that wrong.”

Read More on the Story
Bill Graham: Bill Graham: Catawba tribe’s resort is much-needed in Charlotte region (The Salisbury Post August 29, 2019)

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