Tuscarora Indian Nation Stands Ground Over North Carolina Casino Raids, Arrests

Posted on: July 27, 2018, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2018, 06:06h.

Members of the Tuscarora Indian Nation were defiant this week in the aftermath of Monday’s raid on three casinos, which the state of North Carolina say were illegal operations.

Tuscarora Indian Nation
Tuscarora Indian Nation councilman Timothy Jacobs said he believes Monday’s raid on the tribe’s casinos was illegal. The tribe is fiercely independent and does not recognize state or federal law. (Image: WBTW)

More than 25 people were arrested during the raids, including tribal leader Kendall Locklear and tribe Councilman Timothy Jacobs. They were charged, variously, with illegal gambling, money laundering, marijuana production and running an illegal police force.

An official statement from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations described a “year-long multi-agency investigation,” but on Thursday Jacobs told WBTW News that the casinos had only been operational since January and were openly advertised to members of the public.

“We can demonstrate that the money was going back into the community,” Jacobs said. “There was no form of money laundering, there was no individuals helping themselves. This was a whole, collective community effort being done by the people.”

Great Law of Peace

While the Tuscarora of New York State, who migrated from the Carolinas in the 18th century, are federally recognized, those that stayed behind are not. Nevertheless, the North Carolina Tuscarora are fiercely independent and do not recognize state or federal laws.

Jacobs said the tribe abides by the Great Law of Peace, a treaty of the Six Nations (Iroquois Confederacy), which predates the US Constitution and, according to Jacobs and some historians, influenced it.

“The reason the casinos were running was because we, as Tuscarora Nation peoples, do not receive any state or federal funding,” Jacobs explained.

“We were trying to create economic development to support our elders. To try and do some housing construction, because if you look at the history of the Tuscarora people, and the current living situation in Robeson County, we live well below the poverty line,” he added.

Robesonian Hostage Incident

In 1998, Jacobs was sentenced to six years in prison after he and an accomplice, Eddie Hatcher, armed with sawn-off shotguns, held the staff of local newspaper The Robesonian hostage for ten hours in protest against racial bias and corruption in local government. Robeson

But Jacobs said he believes, on Monday, it was the state authorities that acted illegally.

“To us, [the raid] was an insult,” said Jacobs. “It was a violation of our rights because this land is deeded as Tuscarora Nation land. This land is not deeded under the state of North Carolina.”