Debate continues over Catawba Indian Nation casino project in Kings Mountain

Debate continues over Catawba Indian Nation casino project in Kings Mountain
(MELISSA KEY/CBJ)

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. — The debate surrounding the hotly contested Catawba Indian Nation casino project in Kings Mountain took center stage before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Thursday.

The Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States held a hearing regarding H.R. 8255, or the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act. The bill was introduced on Sept. 15. It would reaffirm the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision in March to place land into a trust for the Catawbas to develop the casino.

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Thursday’s hearing included testimony from two supporters of the project — Catawba Chief Bill Harris and Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler. The subcommittee also heard testimony from Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Cherokees have opposed the Department of the Interior’s decision and have taken legal action in federal court to stop the project.

That’s not the only opposition the project has faced. And another hurdle for the development is needed approval from Gov. Roy Cooper for a class III gaming compact.

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Catawba Indian Nation speaks out about opposition to casino