RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A group within the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is fighting a Tribal Council decision to give itself half a million dollars in raises.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) A group within the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is fighting a Tribal Council decision to give itself half a million dollars in raises.

The group says the lawmakers violated tribal law by voting in October to give current and former council members pay raises retroactive to 2010. They sent a letter to council members and acting Attorney General Hannah Smith. Smith declined to comment.

Attorney Meghann Burke says the group plans to file a lawsuit if the council doesn't return the money by its May 7 meeting.

The group quotes tribal law as saying pay raises can't go into effect until the 12-member council's next term.

The group says raises and back pay through 2015 exceed $500,000, and hundreds of thousands more would go to retirement benefits.