Catawba Nation Moves Ahead with Kings Mountain Casino Plan

KINGS MOUNTAIN – Most of us are trying our best to ensure life and work go on during this unprecedented response to a pandemic threat; the Catawba Indian Nation is doing the same. Last week, the Catawba Nation held a press conference unveiling their plans for a casino in Kings Mountain, finally given the go-ahead by the U.S. Department of Interior.

From the North State Journal (NSJ):

“[…] The proposed destination casino and resort is projected to bring as many as 5,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs to the King’s Mountain area. Supporters of the casino estimate it will bring $350 million in potential revenue to the town, which is located just 35 miles west of Charlotte.  

The Catawba Indian Nation statement said that the tribe plans to “begin working closely with Gov. Cooper’s office so that the state of North Carolina can also benefit from the project in Kings Mountain.”

The proposed casino project, which was first discussed during tribal meetings in 2013, now is expected to include a $600 million 220,000-square-foot casino complex with an estimated 1,796 electronic gaming devices and 54 table games. There is a plan for a 1,500-room hotel, as well as restaurants, shopping and a full-sized concert and event venue.

The Catawba Indians are located in South Carolina, but claim tribal lands that extend north into the area of the casino project near King’s Mountain. The project has been met with strong opposition from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians located in North Carolina, which operate casinos further to the west of King’s Mountain. […]”

Yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. As soon as rumblings of this plan emerged in recent years, North Carolina’s most prominent Indian Nation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee, began lodging complaints. The Catawba Nation — which is actually based in South Carolina, with territory claims extending into the Kings Mountain, North Carolina area — is encroaching on the Cherokee’s tribal lands, according to them.

If you thought run-of-the-mill politics in our state and nation were acrimonious, the bitter feuds between competing Indian Nations make them look tame. After all, they are competing. While the Eastern Band of Cherokee point to this settlement, or that concern of artifacts discovered at the building site, the crux of the opposition is more than likely the fact that the Cherokee operate two casinos in western NC and they simply don’t want any competition.

There are all sorts of sides to fall on when it comes to these scrums. You can read more about the moves going on in this one, and how state and federal lawmakers got involved, here.

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