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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 14, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10May00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Mormon Indians Denied Catawba Membership
Rock Hill SC Herald 9May00 D6
By J. Stabley: The Herald

CATAWBA INDIAN RESERVATION, SOUTH CAROLINA -- The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs turned down the appeal from the Western Catawbas to be included on the Catawba Indian Nation's membership roll. The Western Catawbas are descended from a group of five Catawba families that joined the LDS Church and moved to Utah in the late 1880s.

At issue in the dispute is a 15 percent share, worth more than $8 million, from the settlement of a 153-year-old federal land dispute. The Western Catawbas have tried since the 1930s to be included in the membership rolls, but the nation has always denied them membership.

New Mexico attorney Cynthia Walsh, who is one of the most vocal of the Western Catawbas, filed the appeal of the Bureau of Indian Affair's preliminary roll in March. She learned of the BIA's denial of a place on the roll on Monday, "It is not an issue about allotment of the disbursement money but about a right to fully participate in one's heritage," Walsh said.

Another Western Catawba, Judy Canty Martin of Colorado, has filed a motion in federal court in Denver to stop publication of the membership roll. She claims that the BIA is biased against the Western Catawbas. She also claims, in the lawsuit, that Franklin Keel, the eastern director of the BIA, and other federal officials have violated several federal laws, including the Catawba Settlement Act. Keel and other BIA officials weren't available for comment to the Rock Hill Herald.

The Western Catawbas have grown to between 500 and 700 since coming to the west.


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