State banishment law increases penalty for those trespassing on tribal land

by Jun 18, 2018NEWS ka-no-he-da


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.”

According to information from the General Assembly, “…House Bill 744 would make it a first-degree trespass for a person to enter onto or remain upon lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians after having been excluded by resolution passed by the Tribal Council.  A first offense would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, and any subsequent offense would be a Class I felony, including a fine of not less than $1,000.”

Chief Sneed said he is grateful for the help received in the bill.  “A special thanks to former Tribal Council Chairman Bill Taylor, of Wolftown, for his work on this legislation.  Also, the Tribe is extremely grateful to N.C. Senator Jim Davis who testified in support of our bill in two committees and on the North Carolina Senate floor.”

House Bill 744 will become effective Dec. 1 and will apply to offenses committed on or after that date.

The power of exclusion (banishment) is located in Chapter 2 of the Cherokee Code:

The Cherokee One Feather has compliled and keeps an up-to-date list of those people who have been banished.  It can be found here:

– One Feather staff report