Imágenes de páginas

On October 27, 1980, the Commission met with the attorneys and other representatives of the Catawba Indians. The details of this meeting are not available for discussion because this negotiating session was in executive session so as to protect the confidentiality of all discussions and comments made. It can be said, however, that the purpose of this meeting was to make one more attempt to arrive at a proposal which would have been consistent with the desires of the Catawba Indians and public sentiment in the claim area. Unfortunately, despite the repeated efforts to reach a settlement and the number of compromise positions adopted in the negotiating process, further attempts to negotiate a settlement were rejected and the Catawba Indians instituted litigation the following day.

Although the Commission is not actively involved in the litigation, the slow pace of the litigation in the Federal courts has been followed by the Commission. In recognition of the disadvantages associated with a judicial resolution of the land claim, the Commission has continued to be sensitive to alternate solutions, particularly legislative solutions.

In March, 1981, the Commission passed the following resolution:

That the Catawba Indian Study Commission encourage members of the S.C. Legislative Delegation to explore the concept embodied in legislation proposed by Congressman Lee of New York as a possible avenue of resolution of the Catawba Indian Land Claim.

This legislation would be designed to extinguish any right or interest in any land claimed by the Catawbas and to allow the Catawbas to pursue, against the U.S. only, all claims as money damages only.

The Commission will continue to explore other avenues of possible settlement. In that regard, the Commission has authorized its attorney to sit in on any settlement negotiations between the parties to the lawsuit and to make reports on such meetings to the Commission for its consideration.

No significant efforts directed toward a negotiated settlement have surfaced since the Commission passed that resolution. We have, however, seen significant progress in the efforts surrounding a legislative solution embodying concepts originally proposed by Congressman Gary Lee of New York. In February of 1982, the Commission adopted a resolution reaffirming its support of those concepts. This resolution specifically stated :

Whereas, on March 23, 1981, the Catawba Indian Study Commission passed a Resolution stating, in part, that:

The Catawba Indian Study Commission encourages members of the S. C. Legislative Delegation to explore the concepts embodied in legislation proposed by Congressman Lee of New York as a possible avenue of resolution of the Catawba Indian Land Claim.

This legislation would be designed to extinguish any right or interest in any land claimed by the Catawbas and to allow the Catawbas to pursue, against the U.S. only, all claims as money damages only.

Whereas, it appears that companion bills embodying the concepts mentioned above have been introduced into both Houses of the United States Congress as "Ancient Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1982;" and

Whereas, these bills appear to set up a fair and consistent policy with respect to a purported lack of Congressional approval of ancient Indian land transfers and further mandate procedures which will clear the title to land subject to Indian claims in the states of New York, Connecticut and South Carolina, and further provide a means whereby Indian tribes may receive fair compensation in the form of money damages from the United States Government for demonstrable injuries suffered as a result of said transfers; and

Whereas, the members of the Catawba Indian Study Commission continue to believe that the concepts embodied in these bills will provide an acceptable resolution of the Catawba Indian land claim: It is, therefore

Resolved by the Catawba Indian Study Commission :

That the members of the South Carolina Congressional Delegation and all members of Congress are encouraged to act favorably upon the “Ancient Indian Land Claims Settlement Act of 1982." And it is further

Resolved. That copies of this Resolution be forwarded to each member of the Congressional Delegation from South Carolina, to the presiding officers of both houses of the United States Congress, and to other interested members of Congress and the Executive Branch of the United States Government.

As indicated by the Commission's resolutions of March, 1981, and February, 1982. the Commission supports S. 2084 as one acceptance method by which the Catawba Indian land claim could be resolved. The Commission believes that this legislation provides an equitable solution to the claim in that it relieves private landowners from any threat directed toward their property and at the same time provides the claimants adequate procedural means through which they can be fairly compensated for their claim. If favorable action on this bill cannot be secured, all parties affected by the Catawba land claim face years of continued litigation and a chance of bitter disappointment for the losing parties. For these reasons, on behalf of the Commission, I urge that this Committee take favorable action on S. 2084.

Senator COHEN. Please excuse me for a moment. I have a couple of minutes to catch a vote.

The hearing will stand in recess for 10 minutes. [Recess.]

Senator COHEN. The hearing will come to order. Would you like to proceed?

Ms. RHEA. I will turn it over to Mr. Carpenter from our chamber of commerce because his plane leaves before mine.

Senator COHEN. Thank you. I have another vote to make in just a few minutes.

Mr. Carpenter.



Mr. CARPENTER. Mr. Chairman, I will make this very brief, in the interests of limitations of your time and that of the committee.

My name is Clint Carpenter. I am executive vice president of the Rock Hill Area Chamber of Commerce.

Our organization has been active in broad issues affecting the entire community for many years. That is our purpose in speaking out here today on the issue of the Catawba Indian claim and how that might be more fairly settled through the enactment of the Ancient Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1982.

We come, Mr. Chairman, as advocates for congressional intervention in the unsettled and unsettling dispute over certain land claims made by the Catawba Indians. We are here to endorse Senate bill 2084, the Ancient Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1982. Our goal, Mr. Chairman, is to beg prompt action by the Congress.

Very quickly, let me hit some specific issues that have caused us many dilemmas. No. 1, almost from the beginning of the current effort by the Catawba Indians to pursue what they believe to be a just claim, members of the tribe have been divided in accordance with the settlement that they desire.

No. 2, the general population and the offices of government in our area have differed as to whom the responsibility for solution involves.

No. 3, the division of our community as viewed by political officeholders tends to compromise elected leaders in their efforts to seek resolution, and I am sure, since you are in the political arena, you can understand a no-win situation like this.

Senator COHEN. Every day.

Mr. CARPENTER. No. 4, nonpolitical entities, principally large and important employers, apparently, Mr. Chairman, see little benefit and great potential for harm by direct involvement in negotiations or even public expressions on the issue. They have, however, vigorously defended their interests in the court case, and have spent large sums of money defending their rights to their plants and their offices.

No. 5, the position of the Federal agencies in this issue and the administration has been less than consistent.

Now, whether, Mr. Chairman, under the terms of a treaty or through the malfeasance of individuals

, if a particular group of citizens is wronged, then corrective measures should be sought. But is there, Mr. Chairman, any logic in allowing those measures to offend still another people who do not deserve this blame, and I know we have discussed this on several occasions here today?

Our purpose here is to plead with the Congress, again, to reach its conclusion and to take corrective measures. We believe that no purpose is served by further delays. We believe that the conditions which might admit to negotiations, and we have discussed that several times here, Mr. Chairman, also, are no longer available, and further postponement would be harmful to all of the parties.

Beyond the dilemmas attending the search for resolution of the Catawba claim, there are problems accompanying the fact of the claim. These problems have caused irreparable harm to ind citizens, as you have already heard, and have hindered development of a region of the Nation which had every right to expect a fine period of industrial and commercial growth.

On June 12, 1979, our report to the U.S. Congressional Committee contained many detailed examples, Mr. Chairman, of the negative impact that this cloud has had on our community. I will not take the time of this committee, nor you, sir, to go into that, but the Chair was provided with a copy and I have provided copies for your administrative staff.

Mr. Chairman, it will hopefully suffice just to say that these documents show the range of the problems that our community has encountered and I would like to very briefly hit a few of the specific points.

We have had delays in financing and construction because of the lack of clear, unencumbered titles to land. There has been a refusal of certain industrial prospects that will have to remain nameless, brought to South Carolina by the State Development Board, to consider Rock Hill because of the potential claims problem.

We make no argument, Mr. Chairman, that the Indian claim is the sole factor in this issue of firms not coming to locate with us, but we are driven inexorably to the conclusion that the claim is of some consequence.

Further, we have seen damage to buyers and sellers of real estate because title insurance was not available in some cases. We have lost Federal financing for housing for the elderly because HUD found unacceptable and unmarketable the Indian claim exception specified by title insurance; more intangibly, a divided community, which I have already mentioned, and all the emotional and psychological harm that divisiveness can bring to any community.

Whether or not one believes in the validity and the legality of the Catawba claim, Mr. Chairman, these problems and others to date clearly show that the issue has already had a profoundly negative impact on the Rock Hill and York County area. Failure to settle this issue, which means endless litigation and further delay, will multiply this impact. The result would be more turmoil for this area, for the Catawba, and for the non-Catawba alike.

[ocr errors]

We are talking about the further impact on the property owners in the claim area, which you just mentioned a few moments ago, those who own business and industrial property, as well as residences, farms, and woodlands.

We are talking about a veritable moratorium on development in the tri-county area affected by the claim. We are talking about the inability of our economy to produce new jobs and to provide goods and services for a growing residential population.

We are also talking about these things happening, Mr. Chairman, at a time when the specter of recession—and I like to refer to it as depression-looms, and inflation continues to aggravate our economic problems, in our area, as well as the country.

We are talking about the deepening of the divisions in our community that have already set neighbor against neighbor. If that is not a definition of turmoil, Mr. Chairman, then it ought to be. Does it describe a community in which you would like to live or to invest your time and your resources, and I know you have already experienced some of this, as you said earlier.

The question before us today is, how to avert the problems. The Rock Hill Area Chamber of Commerce believes that enactment of the Ancient Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1982 would be a solution which would be fair to all parties. We support the concept of the act, which was introduced by Representative Lee and Senators D'Amato and Thurmond.

The Chamber's endorsement of this legislation, Mr. Chairman, should not be construed as support for payment of any claim not settled by the courts. We view this legislation as an opportunity for all parties concerned to pursue due process of law without obstructing normal title transfers or causing further economic upheaval.

Mr. Chairman, we conclude this statement by asking that your committee support enactment of the Ancient Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1982. We believe, again, that negotiation is virtually beyond hope and that litigation will do more than aggravate the divisions and tensions among the people. Further litigation will prolong indefinitely any decision which is generally acknowledged as an ultimate responsibility of the Congress.

A reasonable solution such as this recognizes the proper role of the Government, Mr. Chairman. It avoids penalizing those who in good faith invested in our area, and it gives our Catawba neighbors a start at revitalizing their tradition.

We personally do not address the question of the legality of the Catawba claim. However, as has already been stated here this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Joseph Wilson of Pennsylvania ruled just about a week ago that a 1959 Federal law that disbanded the tribe now bars the Catawbas from recovering a colonial reservation.

Self-interest, Mr. Chairman, and community interest can coexist if the proper attitudes and atmosphere exist. The Rock Hill Area Chamber of Commerce is quite interested in doing whatever it can to develop such attitudes and atmosphere. It reflects our sense of community and we solicit your strong and swift support.

I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have of me, Mr. Chairman. I would like permission after that to go catch my plane.

Senator COHEN. I will ask you a question and then you can leave.

You indicated the court has dismissed the claim made by the Cayuga Tribe, is that right?

Mr. CARPENTER. Yes, sir.

Senator Cohen. Why would it not be in your interests to simply proceed and let the tribe appeal that decision and let it follow it through, and that way would be probably a quicker resolution of the issue than if this bill passes and it is then challenged in court, starting all over again in the U.S. district court, through the circuit, probably here in the court of appeals in Washington, up to the Supreme Court ? Why would it not be in your self-interest to just allow it to go through the court system as it is, now that you have won the initial stage and it is proceeding to the fourth circuit or the fifth circuit?

Mr. CARPENTER. Mr. Chairman, I believe, since I am not an attorney, it would be better for one of the attorneys to answer that question. I understand the question that you raise.

Senator Cohen. The reason I raise it, and I think you kind of hinted at it, is that many of the citizens who otherwise might be disposed toward a settlement now have paid substantial amounts of money, or the town has paid substantial amounts of money, to fight the claim and they do not even want to talk settlement at this point.

Mr. CARPENTER. That is obviously, Mr. Chairman, one route that you could take, which we both recognize. But also, litigation is still a very expensive route. And there may be others of our panel that are much better qualified than I to address that question.

Senator COHEN. Thank you for your remarks. Your statement will be included in the record.

I hope you catch your plane. Do not be disappointed. It is 5:00 traffic right now.

Mr. CARPENTER. Yes, sir. [The prepared statement follows. Testimony resumes on p. 216.]


BY CLINT CARPENTER, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, ladies and gentlemen, I am Clint Carpenter, executive vice president of the Rock Hill Area Chamber of Commerce.

We welcome and appreciate the opportunity to appear before this Committee. Our Chamber of Commerce has 750 members. Seventy-five percent of them are commercial and industrial concerns while twenty-five percent are individual doctors, lawyers, accountants and other individuals.

Our Chamber of Commerce has long been active in broad issues affecting the entire community. That is our purpose in speaking out today on the issue of the Catawba Indian Claim and how it might be more fairly settled through enactment of the Ancient Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1982, the Lee-D'Amato bills.

We come as advocates for Congressional intervention in the unsettled and unsettling dispute over certain land claims made by the Catawba Indians, and with awareness that what we say may have relevance to comparable claims made in other sections of our Nation. We are here to endorse H.R. 5494, the Ancient Indian Claim Settlement Act of 1982 for resolution of the disputed claims; our goal is to beg prompt action by the Congress.

in seeking direct action by the Congress and in requesting prompt consideration, we call attention to certain inescapable dilemmas with which we are faced. The Catawba claims have evoked responses which virtually preclude local or combined local, state and federal intervention via negotiation. In describing these conditions, we place no value judgment nor imply criticisin of any party. Our purpose is simply to offer evidences of the dilemmas and the cause of our belief that negotiation is improbable as the route to resolution.

Some specific issues which highlight our dilemmas are:

« AnteriorContinuar »