CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill Wednesday night that would set aside land along I-85 corridor in Cleveland County into a trust for the Catawba Indian Tribe to eventually be used to build a casino.
Behind Senator Graham in this endeavor are two North Carolina Senators listed as bill co-sponsors; Sen. Thom Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr.
Less than 12 hours after the bill was introduced, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians released a statement to WBTV in which they called the move to give a historically South Carolina Indian tribe North Carolina property “a modern day land grab.”
The Catawba Indian Nation is one of the indigenous Indian tribes that settled the Carolina Piedmont over 10,000 years ago, according to the Charlotte Museum of History. The Catawba were once regarded as one of the most powerful tribes in the Carolinas.
WBTV Investigative reporter Nick Ochsner believes this newly introduced bill “is the first move in what will be a long fight to bring a casino to Cleveland County.”