Actions of the Former Executive Committee
The current constitution of the Catawba Nation, which is virtually identical to the original tribal constitution of 1944, was adopted in 1975 and remains in effect today. In 1996, however, Chief Gilbert Blue requested a charter under which the Executive Committee would function. This charter, known as The Corporate Nation, was approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1997. The General Council, however, never approved this charter as required by the original and current Catawba constitutions. In fact, the mere existence of this charter was not disclosed to the General Council. Following BIA approval of "The Corporate Nation" charter, the Gilbert Blue Administration began conducting business transactions on behalf of the Catawba Nation without approval, or even knowledge, of the General Council as required in the constitution. This includes buying and selling land and spending the trust account funds without the financial reports and annual audits required by the Catawba Settlement Act. Much of these funds cannot be accounted for, and seem to have simply "evaporated".
Also, a proposed new constitution for the Catawba Nation was drafted which Chief Blue aggressively supported. This new constitution, which was soundly defeated in July 2002 by vote of the General Council, would have given virtually all powers to the Executive Committee while neglecting the General Council and the basic rights of the individual tribal members (See also The Opinion of a Native American Attorney: Proposed New Tribal Constitution Brings Bad News for the Catawba People and their Future). On September 7, 2002, a tribal election was held under the existing constitution despite the attempts of the Gilbert Blue administration to stop it. In this election, new persons were elected to the positions of Chief, Assistant Chief, Secretary/Treasurer, First Councilman, and Second Councilman positions. (See Tribal Elections page) Although replaced in a lawful election, the former Chief Blue and Executive Committee refused to vacate the Longhouse and continue to function as they had under "The Corporate Nation" charter. On October 10, 2002, the former Executive Committee put forth another " revised Catawba constitution". This "revised" constitution differed only in minor detail from the "proposed new constitution" put forth a few years earlier by the Executive Committee. Since the BIA does not wish to get involved in removing these members of the former Gilbert Blue Administration from the Longhouse, they remain in control of what little is left of the tribal resources. A more complete description of these events is provided in the paper titled "Perspectives of the Catawba Indian Nation in 2003" by Dr. Thomas Blumer.
Links to the various documents and news of events pertaining to these actions of the Executive Committee under Chief Gilbert blue are provided below.
Message from E. Fred Sanders. Message from E. Fred Sanders concerning the candidates for the tribal election held on July 21, 2007
Wanda Warren Pleads Guilty. Wanda George Warren, former Chief Financial Officer of the Catawba Nation, pleaded guilty to federal embezzlement charges on March 16, 2005. More info on this case will be posted as it becomes available.
Protest at the Catawba Nation's Bingo Hall Photos from the gathering at the Catawba Nation's bingo hall to protest the misuse of the bingo profits by the former Executive Committee
Constitution and By-Laws of the Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina This is the original constitution of the Catawba Nation, adopted in 1975, and remains in effect today.
Letter to Senator Lindsey Graham from the current, duly elected members of the Executive Committee of the Catawba Nation in January, 2004. This letter requests the assistance of Senator Graham to rectify the problem of the holdover Executive Committee (ie. the Gilbert Blue administration) violating the Constitution of the Catawba Indian Nation and the American civil rights of individual tribal members.
The Corporate Nation requested by Chief Gilbert Blue in 1996 and approved by the BIA in 1997, along with copies of certification documents.
BIA Response to FOIA Request Copy of the response letter from Franklin Keel, Regional Director, BIA to Cynthia Walsh (webmaster) concerning her request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information about the charter status of federally recognized tribes and access of Catawba tribal members to the Longhouse.
Proposed New Constitution for the Catawba Nation A copy of the proposed new constitution (put forth by the Executive Committee) for the Catawba Nation, which is now up for vote by the Catawba Tribal Members. A copy of the cover letter sent by Chief Gilbert Blue to the Tribal Members urging their support of this document is also included.
The Opinion of a Native American Attorney Proposed New Tribal Constitution Brings Bad News for the Catawba People and their Future by Cynthia A. Walsh, M.A., J.D., Attorney-at-Law. Explains how the proposed new constitution for the Catawba Nation violates federal law in regard to tribal membership and guts the power of the General Council, thereby making the Executive Committee the only branch of the government with any actual power. Proposed new constitution also obligates the Catawba Nation to all past debt and other agreements which were entered by various tribal representatives (or those claiming such authority) without the knowledge of the General Council nor the Catawba tribal members.
A New Catawba Tribal Constitution (October 7, 2000) An editorial comment by Webmaster Cynthia A. Walsh concerning a new Catawba tribal constitution and the rights of the Catawba people in forming such a constitution.
Letter from Heyward Canty, Jr. to Chief Gilbert Blue (October 30, 2000) protesting the draft Catawba constitution as granting to much power to the Executive Committee and not protecting the basic rights of the tribal members.
U.S. District of South Carolina Court Order (October 11, 2000) A copy of the court document stating the order issued by Federal Judge Joseph Anderson for the Tribe to set a date for a General Counsel meeting concerning the proposed new Catawba constitution in the case of Wade et. al. v. Blue et. al.
Freedom Rings at Catawba Nation by Cynthia A. Walsh, M.A., J.D., Attorney-at-Law. The Catawba people soundly defeat the severely flawed new constitution proposed by the Executive Committee.
Letter from Chief Gilbert Blue concerning new Catawba Constitution Copy of the letter by Chief Gilbert Blue to the tribal members on September 17, 2002 urging them to adopt the new constitution.
Second Version of the New Catawba Nation Constitution Proposed by Former Executive Committee Members Copy of the revised Catawba Nation constitution put forth by Gilbert Blue and other former members of the Executive Committee.