The following is a copy of the
constitution and by-laws adopted by the Catawba Indian Tribe in 1975,
and remains in effect today.
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CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF THE CATAWBA INDIAN
TRIBE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
We, the members of the Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina, in order to
set up a more effective tribal organization, to improve our social and
economic welfare, and to secure to ourselves and our posterity the benefits
of organization, do hereby establish and ordain this constitution and
by-laws for the Catawba Indian Tribe.
I — TERRITORY
The jurisdiction of the Catawba Tribe shall extend to the land within the boundaries of the present
Indian reservation in South Carolina, and to such other lands as may hereafter be acquired for the
mutual benefit of its members.
II — MEMBERSHIP
1. The membership of the Catawba Tribe of South
Carolina shall consist of:
(a) All persons of Indian blood whose names appear on the tribal roll of
July 1, 1943 as recognized by the State of South Carolina.
(b) All children born to any member of the Catawba Tribe, who is a resident
of the State of South Carolina at the time of birth of said children.
2. The General Tribal Council, hereinafter
provided for, shall have the power to pass ordinances, subject to the approval of the Secretary of
the Interior, covering future membership and adoption of new members.
III — GOVERNING
1. The governing body of the Catawba Tribe of
South Carolina shall be the General Tribal Council which shall be composed of all qualified voters of
the Catawba Tribe.
2. All enrolled members of the Catawba Tribe,
male and female, who are 21 years of age or over shall be qualified voters in any tribal election,
3. The General Tribal Council, by secret
ballot, shall elect from its own members (a) a Chief, (b) an Assistant Chief, (c) a
Secretary-Treasurer, and (d) two Trustees who shall, ex officio, serve as the Executive Committee of
the Tribe, as provided in Section 5 of this Article and Section 8, Article I of the bylaws.
4. The General Tribal Council shall meet on the
first Saturday of January and July of each year. Within 30 days after the ratification and approval
of this constitution and bylaws, a General Tribal Council of the Tribe shall be called by the
present Chief for the purpose of electing th officers named herein, and it shall transact such
other business as may be necessary. The officers elected at this meeting shall thereupon take
office and serve until the July 1946 meeting, at which time their successors shall be chosen.
Thereafter, officials shall be chosen at the July meeting ov every even year. The Chief, or
25 per cent of the qualified voters of the Tribe, by written notice may call special meetings of
the General Tribal Council. Thirty five qualified voters of the Tribe shall constitute a quorum at
any special or regular meeting.
5. There shall be an Executive Committee
consisting of the Chief, Assistant Chief, Secretary-Treasurer, and the two Trustees provided for in
Section 3 of this Article, which Committee shall perform such duties as may from time to time be
conferred on it by the General Tribal Council.
IV — POWERS OF THE
1. The General Tribal Council of the Catawba Tribe
shall excercise the following powers, subject to any limitations imposed by this constitution and by
the statutes or the Constitution of the United States:
(a) To negotiate with the Federal, State, and local governments:
(b) To employ legal counsel, the choice of counsel and fixing of fees to be
subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior:
(c) To veto any sale, disposition, lease, or other encumbrance of tribal
lands, interests in lands, or other tribal assets of the Tribe.
(d) To advise the Secretary of the Interior with regard to all appropriation
estimates or Federal projects for the benefit of the Tribe prior to the submission of such estimates
to the Bureau of the Budget and to Congress:
(e) To pass and enforce ordinances, which shall be subject to the approval
of the Secretary of the Interior, providing for the supervision and management of tribal lands,
including provisions for assignments of tribal lands to the members:
(f) To protect and preserve the property, wildlife, and natural resources of
(g) To adopt resolutions regulating the procedures of the tribal Council
itself and of other tribal agencies and tribal officials:
(h) To regulate the use and disposition of tribal property and funds.
2. The General Tribal Council may excercise such
further powers as may hereafter be delgated to it by the Secretary of the Interior, by any duly
authorized official or agency of the State or Federal government, or by members of the Tribe.
3. Reserved Powers. — Any rights and
powers heretofore vested in the Catawba Tribe of South Carolina, but not expressly referred to in
this constitution, shall not be abridged by this Article, but may be exercised by the people of the
Tribe through the adoption of appropriate bylaws and constitutional amendments.
V — VACANCIES AND
1. In case of a vacancy of any office caused by
death, resignation, permanent removal from the State, or expulsion from office, such vacancy shall be
filled at the next general council meeting of the Tribe.
2. In case of misconduct, immorality, or neglect
of duty by any tribal officier, 35 members of the Tribe may, by written petition, prefer charges
against any such official at a regular or special meeting the General Tribal Council. The accused
shall be notified in advance of any such meeting of the charges and shall have an opportunity to
defend himself at such meeting. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present shall be necessary to
remove an official from office.
VI — AMENDMENTS
Amendments of this constitution and bylaws may
be proposed by a majority vote of the Catawba General Tribal Council and may be ratified and
approved in the same manner as this constitution and by-laws.
BY-LAWS OF THE CATAWBA INDIAN TRIBE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
I — DUTIES OF
1. The duties of officers of the Tribal Council
shall be as follows:
(a) The Chief of the Tribe shall preside at all meetings of the
General Tribal Council. He shall also be the presiding officer at any public meeting which may be
duly called in accordance with this constitution. He shall at all times have general supervision of
the affairs fo the Tribal Council and Executive Committee and such matters as naturally pertain to
the general welfare of the comunity. It shall also be the duty of the Chief to countersign all checks
drawn against any funds of the organization by the Treasurer.
(b) The Assistant Chief in the absence of the Chief shall
preside at all meetings of the General Tribal Council and shall act in his stead in all matters
pertaining to the office of Chief.
(c) The Secretary-Treasurer of the General Tribal Council shall
conduct all tribal correspondence and shall keep an accurate record of all matters transacted at
General Tribal Council meetings and Executive Committee meetings. It shall be his duty to send
promptly to the Superintendent of the jurisdiction and the Commisionser of Indian Affairs copies of
all minutes of regular and special meetings of the General Tribal Council and the Executive
He shall accept, receive, receipt for, preserve and safeguard all tribal funds or special funds for
which the Council is acting as trustee or custodian. He shall deposit all funds in such depository
as the Council shall direct and shall make and preserve a faithful record of such funds, and shall
record all receipts and expenditures and the amount and nature of all funds in his posession and
custody at each regular meeting of the General Council. An audit of accounts shall be made once a
year and at such times as the General Tribal Council or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs may
require. He shall not pay out or otherwise disburse any funds in his possession or custody except in
accordance with a resolution duly passed by the General Tribal Council. He shall be required to
give a bond satisfactory to the General Tribal Council and to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs
whenever in the opinion of the General Tribal Council or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs
sufficient funds have accumulated in the tribal treasury to justify the need for such a bond.
2. The duties of all officials of the General
Tribal Council and the Executive Committee shall be clearly set forth by resolution of the
General Tribal Council at the time of their creation and appointment. Such officers and
committees shall report to the General Tribal Council from time to time as required.
3. The Executive Committee. — It shall
be the duty of the Executive Committee, established pursuant to Section 3, Article III of this
constitution, to act on behalf of the General Tribal Council at such times a Council is not in
session and to have charge of all routine matters which shall arise during such recess, including
the administration of ordinances concerning lands under this constitution and such other matters
as may be delegated to it by the General Tribal Council. It shall designate the time and place
of its meetings and it shall determine the rules of its proceedings and keep a journal thereof,
which shall be open to members of the Tribe at reasonable hours. The Executive Committee shall make
a report at each regular and special session of the Council.
II — ADOPTION
This constitution and by-laws, when adopted by a majority vote of the voters of the Catawba Tribe of
South Carolina, voting at a special election called by the Secretary of the Interior, in which at
least 30% of those entitled to vote shall vote, shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Interior
for his approval, and shall be in force from the date of such approval.
CERTIFICATION OF ADOPTION
Pursuant to and order, approved April 13, 1944, by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, the
attached constitution and by-laws was submitted for ratification to the members of the Catawba
Indian Tribe of South Carolina and was on May 20, 1944 duly ratified by a vote of 54 for and
0 against, in an election in which at least 30 percent of those entitled to vote cast their ballots,
in accordance with Section 16 of the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), as
amended by the act of June 15, 1935 (49 Stat. 378).
C. M. BLAIR.
Superintendent, Cherokee Indian Agency.
1. Oscar L. Chapman, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior of the United
States of America, by virtue of the authority granted me by the act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984),
as amended, do hereby approve the attached constitution and by-laws of the Catawba Indian Tribe of
All rules and regulations heretofore promulgated by the Interior Department or by the Office of
Indian Affairs, so far as they may be incompatible with any of the provisions of the said
constitution and bylaws are hereby declared inapplicable to the members of the Catawba Indian Tribe
of South Carolina.
All officers and employees of the Interior Department are ordered to abide by the provisions of the
said constitution and by-laws.
D.C., June 30, 1944.
Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
Assistant Secretary of the Interior.