Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Principal Chief Richard Sneed statement following the May 1 hearing:

“Today’s hearing on Senate Bill 790 to give North Carolina land to the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina for an off-reservation casino reaffirms our concerns about this bill. Congress has never authorized an off-reservation casino by legislation, for good reason. The bill circumvents the federal processes that give local stakeholders - the State Senate, the Governor, community members and interested North and South Carolinians - a voice in whether to move forward with the casino. Rather than hear from interested parties, this bill silences those voices and replaces the process with backroom political dealing.

The Department of the Interior - under both Obama and Trump administrations - rejected the CatawbaNation’s claims that the department must take North Carolina lands into trust for the South Carolina Tribe. The proposed casino off of I-85 in Cleveland County would encroach upon Cherokee aboriginal territory -territory ceded by the Cherokee by treaty, and territory recognized as Cherokee territory by the U.S. Indian Claims Commission. The Catawba have no valid aboriginal or historical claim to Cleveland County.

We encourage senators to reject Senate Bill 790 - which is nothing more than a modern day land-grab by the federal government of Cherokee aboriginal lands. We hope that the Catawba Nation will insteadpursue economic development in its home state of South Carolina.”