A Statement from Catawba Nation Chief Bill Harris on the passage of H.R. 1619:
On behalf of all Catawba citizens, I want to thank the U.S. House of Representatives for the overwhelming bi-partisan support of our bill, the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act, which reaffirms the Interior Department’s action recognizing the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to North Carolina. We are especially grateful to the bill’s sponsors: Reps. James Clyburn, Alma Adams, William Timmons, David Price, Joe Wilson and G.K. Butterfield.
The US Department of Interior had completed a thorough, years-long review prior to taking 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County for the Catawba Nation. It confirmed that the Catawba Nation’s aboriginal lands extend to six North Carolina counties and farther north in the Piedmont of North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College. These are the lands of not just our ancestors, but also the hundreds of Catawba citizens residing there today. The six counties in North Carolina are part of the Catawba’s service area as defined by Congress in 1993.
The House passing this bill demonstrates the ongoing support from members of Congress in righting historical wrongs against the Catawba people. We also have a compact with the State of North Carolina to share revenues from the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain, a sustainable economic engine and jobs creator for residents of Cleveland County.
We look forward to working with members of the U.S. Senate and our sponsors – Sens. Richard Burr, Thom Tillis and Lindsey Graham – for passage in the Senate.