The final membership roll is set, seven years after the tribe settled a $50 million land dispute with the federal government. Publication in the July 24 Federal Register clears the elections and distribution of more than $8 million to the tribe's 2,107 official members. The tribe will vote on a constitution but no date is set. Sixteen dissidents sued the tribe for failure to hold a full election of leaders. The interim government has been in place since 1993. The BIA recommended the tribe wait until the roll was published before holding elections. At stake is more than $3,800 in settlement money for each tribe member, born by Oct. 27, 1993. The list, unchanged since its first publication in December, leaves out descendants of five families who left with Mormon missionaries in the late 1800s. "What are we? I was raised my whole life that I was Catawba, but they don't want to recognize me with a roll number," said Judy Canty Martin, a Cortez, Colo., resident who sued the BIA on May 1 in a Denver federal court. "They use our (Western Catawba) numbers to make the tribe look bigger for funding, and they use our writings and our historical records and then they just throw us away."
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