Statement of Richard Sneed, Principal Chief of Eastern Band Cherokee Indians, Regarding Negotiations for a Gaming Compact between North Carolina and the Catawba Indian Tribe.
CHEROKEE, NC- Today, it was announced that Governor Roy Cooper has negotiated a compact with the Catawba Indian Tribe to operate gaming at a proposed casino in Kings Mountain. The beleaguered project was initiated by an illegal act at the Department of Interior. The department’s decision is currently mired in a federal court case brought by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Cherokee Nation seeking enforcement of federal law. Controversy has continued to follow this project with the involvement of individuals known to violate gaming laws and extensive evidence of potential corrupt practices from local officials.
In reacting to the compact, Chief Sneed said, “The proposed Kings Mountain casino was born of an illegal act and has continued to swirl in controversy and unethical behavior. It’s disappointing to hear that the Governor felt compelled to sign an agreement that furthers this scheme and threatens the integrity of Tribal gaming everywhere. But this compact changes nothing. We continue to believe the courts will affirm the illegality of this casino and when that happens, the Catawba agreement will be nothing more than a worthless piece of paper.”
Eastern Band of Cherokee v. Department of Interior
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and Cherokee Nation filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to reverse the US Department of the Interior decision granting a request by the Catawba Indian Nation to place land into trust for the purposes of building a casino in North Carolina. The EBCI argues that the Department of Interior ignored and violated numerous law and rules the clearly, directly and explicitly prohibit such action, including the Administrative Procedures Act, National Environmental Protection Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The case is pending in federal court. In December 2020, Judge James Boasberg granted an EBCI request for expediting oral arguments which are now expected to be held next month.
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