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State banishment law increases penalty for those trespassing on tribal land

A new North Carolina state law increases the penalty for those who have been banished from tribal lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who decide to try to return illegally. House Bill 744 was passed 109-0 on Wednesday, June 15 and was ratified by Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday, June 15.

“HB 744 creates the punitive mechanism that has been missing from the banishment provision of tribal law,” said Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed. “Previously, when Tribal Council banished a non-enrolled person from tribal lands, there was no mechanism in place to deter them from coming right back to the Boundary because it was only a Class 3 misdemeanor. If they returned, the state court would have to charge them since we have no jurisdiction over non-enrolled persons except in the event of a domestic violence charge.”


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