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.