Chief Bill Harris of the Catawba Nation announces the name of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort at a private event in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, on August 28, 2020. Photo by The Catawba Nation

Catawba Nation continues work on controversial casino in North Carolina

The Catawba Nation is reaching into history for its forthcoming, and still controversial, gaming facility on ancestral territory in North Carolina.

The Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort draws its name from Catawba Chief King Hagler. During his leadership in the mid-1700s, he allied his nation with the American colonists who revolted against the British at the time of the Revolutionary War.

“Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort celebrates our rich history and hopeful future in our ancestral lands in North Carolina – where our people were established hundreds of years ago, as the names Catawba River, Catawba County and Catawba College suggest,” Chief Bill Harris said in a news release on Monday.

The logo for the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort features a silhouette of King Hagler. set against a representation of Kings Mountain. A Revolutionary War battle took place at Kings Mountain, with the Catawbas fighting alongside the colonists.

“The name pays tribute to the 18th century Catawba Chief King Hagler and to the City of Kings Mountain, which will be home to the new casino resort. It also symbolizes the unique relationship that the Catawba people have historically had – and will continue to strengthen going forward – with fellow residents of the region,” Harris said.

The facility will be located at a 17-acre site near Kings Mountain in Cleveland County. The land falls within the service area that was defined by Congress through a land claim settlement act.

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

The tribe began seeking federal approval to have the parcel placed in trust almost seven years ago. The Trump administration reversed its position on the matter in April after initially telling the Catawbas they couldn't acquire land in North Carolina despite the service area definition.

The decision is being fought by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, whose leaders claim the areas as their ancestral territory. The tribe operates two gaming facilities in the western part of North Carolina.

The board of commissioners in Buncombe County, located far to the west of Kings Mountain, also opposes the new development.

The Catawba Nation, whose headquarters are located across the border in South Carolina, hopes to open the casino in the summer of 2021. A groundbreaking took place on July 22.

The first phase of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort will include 1,300 electronic gaming machines, table games and restaurants, the tribe said in the news release.

Read More on the Story
Casino gets its official name (The Shelby Star August 28, 2020)
SC indian nation casino opposed by Buncombe; Cherokee say $750M at stake (The Asheville Citizen-Times August 19, 2020)
Leaders break ground on new casino in Kings Mountain (WBTV July 22, 2020)

An Opinion
State Sen. Jim Davis and Rep. Joe Sam Queen: Why the Kings Mountain casino is a bad deal for WNC and North Carolina (The Asheville Citizen-Times August 8, 2020)

Relevant Documents
Withdrawal of Solicitor's Opinion M-37029. "The Meaning of 'Under Federal Jurisdiction' for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act"
Determining Eligibility for Land-into-Trust in Section 19 of the Indian Reorganization Act
Procedure for Determining Eligibility for Land-Into-Trust under the First Definition of "lndian" in Section l9 of the Indian Reorganization Act
Determining Eligibility for Land-Into-Trust under the First Definition of "lndian" in Section 19 of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 [PDF 14.6MB]

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