The Catawba Nation has a general council style government. This means that the governing body of the Catawba Nation is the General Council which is composed of all qualified voters of the Catawba Nation. To be a qualified voter you must be an enrolled member of the Nation who is 18 years of age or over.
The General Council meets at least twice a year to vote on business matters and other issues facing the Nation. The General Council also elects from its own members a Chief, an Assistant Chief, a Secretary Treasurer, and two Committee men who shall serve as the Executive Committee of the Nation, and oversee the day to day business of the Nation.
The powers of the General Council of the Catawba Nation as stated in the 1975 Catawba Indian Nation constitution are as follows:
- To negotiate with the Federal, State, and local governments;
- To employ legal counsel, the choice of counsel and fixing of fees;
- To veto any sale, disposition, lease, or encumbrance of Catawba lands, interests in lands, or other Catawba assets of the Nation;
- To pass and enforce ordinances, providing for the supervision and management of Catawba lands, including provisions for assignments of Catawba lands to the members;
- To protect and preserve the property, wildlife, and natural resources of the Nation;
- To adopt resolutions regulating the procedures of the General Council itself and of other Catawba agencies and Catawba officials;
- To regulate the use and disposition of Catawba property and funds.