25 U.S. Code § 941d - Ratification of prior transfers; extinguishment of aboriginal title, rights and claims
(a) Ratification of transfers
Any transfer of land or natural resources located anywhere within the United States from, by, or on behalf of the Tribe, any one or more of its Members, or anyone purporting to be a Member, including but without limitation any transfer pursuant to any treaty, compact, or statute of any State, shall be deemed to have been made in accordance with the Constitution and all laws of the United States, and Congress hereby approves and ratifies any such transfer effective as of the date of such transfer. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect, eliminate, or revive the personal claim of any individual Member (except for any Federal common law fraud claim) which is pursued under any law of general applicability that protects non-Indians as well as Indians.
(b) Aboriginal title
To the extent that any transfer of land or natural resources described in subsection (a) of this section may involve land or natural resources to which the Tribe, any of its Members, or anyone purporting to be a Member, or any other Indian, Indian nation, or Tribe or band of Indians had aboriginal title, subsection (a) of this section shall be regarded as an extinguishment of aboriginal title as of the date of such transfer.
(c) Extinguishment of claims
By virtue of the approval and ratification of any transfer of land or natural resources effected by this section, or the extinguishment of aboriginal title effected thereby, all claims against the United States, any State or subdivision thereof, or any other person or entity, by the Tribe, any of its Members, or anyone purporting to be a Member, or any predecessors or successors in interest thereof or any other Indian, Indian Nation, or tribe or band of Indians, arising at the time of or subsequent to the transfer and based on any interest in or right involving such land or natural resources, including without limitation claims for trespass damages or claims for use and occupancy, shall be deemed extinguished as of the date of the transfer.
(d) Extinguishment of title
(1) All claims and all right, title, and interest that the Tribe, its Members, or any person or group of persons purporting to be Catawba Indians may have to aboriginal title, recognized title, or title by grant, patent, or treaty to the lands located anywhere in the United States are hereby extinguished.
(2) This extinguishment of claims shall also extinguish title to any hunting, fishing, or water rights or rights to any other natural resource claimed by the Tribe or a Member based on aboriginal or treaty recognized title, and all trespass damages and other damages associated with use, occupancy or possession, or entry upon such lands.
(e) Bar to future claims
The United States is hereby barred from asserting by or on behalf of the Tribe or any of its Members, or anyone purporting to be a Member, any claim arising before the effective date of this subchapter from the transfer of any land or natural resources by deed or other grant, or by treaty, compact, or act of law, on the grounds that such transfer was not made in accordance with the laws of South Carolina or the Constitution or laws of the United States.
(f) No derogation of fee simple in Existing Reservation, or effect on Members’ fee interests
Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to diminish or derogate from the Tribe’s estate in the Existing Reservation; or to divest or disturb title in any land conveyed to any person or entity as a result of the Termination Act and the liquidation and partition of tribal lands; or to divest or disturb the right, title and interest of any Member in any fee simple, leasehold or remainder estate or any equitable or beneficial right or interest any such Member may own individually and not as a Member of the Tribe.
(g) Costs and attorneys’ fees
The parties to the Suits shall bear their own costs and attorneys’ fees. As provided by section 6.4 of the Settlement Agreement, the Secretary shall pay to the Tribe’s attorneys in the Suits attorneys’ fees and expenses from, and not to exceed 10 percent of, the $50,000,000 obligated for payment to the Tribe by Federal, State, local, and private parties pursuant to section 5 of the Settlement Agreement.
(h) Personal claims not affected
Nothing in this section shall be deemed to affect, diminish, or eliminate the personal claim of any individual Indian which is pursued under any law of general applicability (other than Federal common law fraud) that protects non-Indians as well as Indians.
(i) Federal payment
In the event any of the Federal payments are not paid as set forth in section 941c of this title, such failure to pay shall give rise to a cause of action by the Tribe against the United States for money damages for the amount authorized to be paid to the Tribe in section 941c (a) of this title in settlement of the Tribe’s claim, and the Tribe is authorized to bring an action in the United States Court of Claims for such funds plus applicable interest. The United States hereby waives any affirmative defense to such action.
(j) State payment
In the event any of the State payments are not paid as set forth in section 941c of this title, such failure to pay shall give rise to a cause of action in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina by the Tribe against the State of South Carolina for money damages for the amount authorized to be paid to the Tribe by the State in § 27–16–50(A) of the State Act in settlement of the Tribe’s claim. Pursuant to § 27–16–50(E) of the State Act, the State of South Carolina waives any Eleventh Amendment immunity to such action.