indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Alliances tested on recognition of Lumbee Tribe
Friday, April 2, 2004

A House hearing on Thursday was the site of an occasionally bitter battle between two tribes from North Carolina and lawmakers divided over their allegiances to them.

Dozens of members of the Lumbee Tribe and Eastern Band of Cherokees packed the House Resources Committee room for a lengthy hearing on a controversial bill that supporters say would correct an historical wrong. But detractors brought up political, moral and cultural concerns to the measure.

The conflict means the Lumbee Tribe faces a tough fight in its bid to gain federal recognition after a century-long quest. The lawmakers in favor of the cause -- many of them members of the Congressional Native American Caucus -- have treaded lightly for fear of upsetting their support for the Eastern Band, whose lobbying prowess has resulted in some recent legislative coups.

One of those was getting to testify before the Lumbee Tribe. Michell Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Band, launched the opening salvo by calling attention to the Lumbee's "doubtful" legitimacy.

"The fact is that they have sought recognition as four different tribes," Hicks told the committee. "They identify themselves as the Croatans, the Siouan, the Cheraw and folks -- the Cherokees. For 40 years, from 1913 to 1953, these folks wanted to recognize themselves as the Cherokees."

Hicks and other critics raised issues usually deemed separate from the federal recognition process. They said it would be too costly to provide health care and other services to the 50,000-plus Lumbees, most of whom live in one county in North Carolina.

They also warned that the tribe could open a casino in a highly lucrative area near a major interstate. The Eastern Cherokees, who number around 13,000, operate a Class III facility in the far Western part of the state.

"Ten years down the road, if there is an attempt to get approval for a casino, it would create a problem that would be almost uncontrollable," said Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), a member of the committee who read a statement from Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) in opposition to the bill.

Taylor represents a district that includes the Eastern Cherokee Reservation and he is sponsoring a rival bill that would force the Lumbees seek status through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Although that measure was not up for consideration yesterday, several lawmakers -- including Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), the first witness of the day -- said to go that route would be "unconscionable" because everyone agrees the process is flawed.

"It's been 116 years, let's not make them wait another 15," Dole pleaded. "Let us do the fair thing, the right thing, to resolve this injustice."

"We're in a unique situation that Congress created and Congress needs to correct," added Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), the chief sponsor of the recognition bill.

After non-committal testimony from a BIA lawyer, three Lumbee representatives presented the tribe's case. Lumbee chairman Jimmy Goins said the tribe has been treated like "second class citizens" by the federal government.

"When I was eight years old, the U.S. passed a law that recognized my tribe but this law including language that says although we were Indian, we would not be treated like other Indian tribes," Goins testified. "Now is the time to correct the injustice my people have endured."

Dr. Jack Campisi, the tribe's researcher, said the tribe has a compelling case for recognition. He said church, state, federal and other records and studies establish clear ties to the historic Cheraw tribe.

Arlinda Locklear, a tribal member and attorney who was the first Native woman to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, rejected some of the arguments advanced by the Eastern Band. She said the names Hicks cited were imposed on the tribe by the state. It wasn't only until the 1950s that the Lumbee people were able to choose their own name, she said.

She also sought to explain why the tribe's previous bids for recognition have been rejected, another issue raised by Hicks. "The reason all those bills failed to that point was not because of lack of Indian identity, not because the Lumbees were not Indian, but because the Department of the Interior opposed each and every bill," Locklear told the committee.

Some members of the committee openly struggled with their views on the matter. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) pointed out that he voted for a Lumbee recognition bill that passed the House in the 1990s but has not signed onto the current proposal.

One lawmaker who did, Rep. Brad Carson (D-Okla.), ended up withdrawing his name and adding it to Taylor's bill. Carson is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

McIntyre's bill has 237 co-sponsors, including Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), the ranking member of the committee, and Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), a committee member who is the Democrat co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.

Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chairman of the committee, has not signed onto either bill. But he was firm in his view that Congress can act to resolve the muddy dispute.

"To the point whether this committee or the Congress has a right to recognize tribes -- we have the right in the Constitution," he said. "I'm not sure the administration has the right anywhere. This is our responsibility."

Get Lumbee Bills:
Dole: S.420 | McIntyre: H.R.898 | Taylor: H.R.1408

Relevant Links:
Official Lumbee Tribe website - http://www.lumbeetribe.com
Lumbee Regional Development Association - http://www.lumbee.org

Related Stories:
House committee debating status of Lumbee Tribe (4/1)
House committee takes up recognition process (4/1)
House panel holds hearing on Lumbee recognition (3/22)
Supporters of Lumbee recognition bill expect fight (12/18)
Lumbee recognition bill delayed on Senate floor (12/03)
Eastern Cherokee Tribe afraid of Lumbee recognition (11/04)
Lumbee Tribe going to polls to elect new chair (11/3)
Senate panel advances Lumbee recognition bill (10/30)
Senate panel takes up Lumbee recognition bill (10/29)
Senate panel to decide on Lumbee recognition (10/08)
Benefits of Lumbee recognition said to be many (9/22)
Lumbee Tribe makes case for federal recognition (09/18)
Senate panel holds hearing on Lumbee recognition (09/18)
Lumbee delegation pushing for federal recognition (9/15)
Senate panel to hold hearing on Lumbee recognition (09/04)
School board supports recognition of Lumbee Tribe (08/12)
Senate panel to hold hearing on Lumbee recognition (8/4)
Lumbee Tribe hopes for resolution of status (3/19)
Lumbee tribal members debate extent of territory (3/7)
Opinion: Approve recognition of Lumbee Tribe (2/27)
Group says Lumbee recognition means casino (2/26)
Sen. Dole backs Lumbee recognition bill (02/19)
Lumbee Tribe seeks support fot federal status (2/18)
Lumbee recognition bill to be delayed (01/09)
Lumbee Tribe hopes for recognition (11/27)

Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
More headlines...

Latest Headlines:

Harold Frazier: Don't believe them when they tell you their pipelines won't spill
Mark Trahant: Indian Country isn't valued as lawmakers move on tax reform bill
Rep. Tom Cole: Tribes are improving the lives of their people and their neighbors
Cronkite News: Domestic violence remains a deadly probably for Native people
Bad River Band demands federal investigation into fatal shooting of 14-year-old
Tribes see opening under Trump to reshape agency that targets lending industry
Native Sun News Today: Lakota mother fights to keep her daughter's dream alive
Victor Swallow: Historic store was a vibrant part of the Oglala Sioux community
Gyasi Ross: Native child gunned down by police officer on his own homelands
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate concerned about spill of oil from Keystone Pipeline
Mississippi Choctaws hail vote against new casino as they await official tally
Tribes still in the dark as Trump administration moves to roll back Bears Ears
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs adds tribal water rights hearing to schedule
Albert Bender: The original genocide continues with the Dakota Access Pipeline
Native Sun News Today: Tribal activists renew fight against Keystone XL Pipeline
Ivan Star Comes Out: We should be asking ourselves 'What's next?' at Whiteclay
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe distances film from Hollywood producer accused of assault
Morongo Band distributes 10,000 turkeys in annual tradition for Thanksgiving
Chemehuevi Tribe expects to complete work on second gaming facility in 2019
Tribes report mixed slot machine returns as they press Trump team on casino
Ponca Tribe secures victory in long-running battle over restoration of homelands
Winnebago Tribe asserts self-determination in hopes of fixing troubled hospital
Comanche Nation sees setback in effort to stop new Chickasaw Nation casino
Alaska Native corporation welcomes action on bill to open lands to development
Doug George-Kanentiio: Thanksgiving represents an indigenous gift to the world
Mark Trahant: Republicans target health care and education to pay for tax cuts
Native Sun News Today: Military service inspires Lakota veteran to bring change
ProPublica: Trump appointee resigns after report on troubled Indian loan program
Bill to end discrimination against indigenous women closer to passage in Canada
Quapaw Tribe calls for resignation of vice chairman following criminal indictment
Senior Trump administration official resigns after scrutiny of Indian loan program
Bureau of Indian Affairs makes changes to loan guarantee program amid scrutiny
Arne Vainio: For over 50 years, I blamed myself for my father's death by suicide
Secretary Zinke among those excited to take part in #RockYourMocs this year
Native Sun News Today: Homeless veterans in South Dakota share their stories
Dakota Access opponents aim to hold law enforcement accountable for tactics
Mississippi Choctaws headed to polls to vote on plans for new gaming facility
President Trump taps Bush-era official as Health and Human Services Secretary
Lawmakers easily approve tribal land bill as Supreme Court weighs major case
House panel advances bill to replace 'Eskimo' and 'Aleut' terms in regulations
Native Sun News Today: Rosebud Sioux Tribe finally welcomes war hero home
Tim Giago: There are always two sides to every story -- even in Indian Country
Mark Trahant: More Native American candidates need to run for public office
Mary Annette Pember: Try something new for Native American Heritage Month
Cronkite News: Hunters may be called into reduce bison herd at Grand Canyon
'An Indian man is on the mall' -- Statue of Ponca Chief Standing Bear is unveiled
Native Sun News Today: Food sovereignty in action on South Dakota reservations
Cronkite News: San Carlos Apache Tribe struggles to deal with mountains of trash
DVIDS: White Mountain Apache soldier proud to represent her tribe in the military
Bad River Band seeks answers after police officer shoots and kills 14-year-old boy
Tribes hit roadblocks as Trump team refuses to sanction new gaming agreements
Pascua Yaqui Tribe announces expansion projects at gaming facilities in Arizona
Appeals court won't revisit historic decision in Muscogee Nation boundary case
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes water compact survives legal challenge
House subcommittee schedules hearing on tribal self-determination and land bills
Sen. Mike Rounds: Indian Health Service fails to live up to its trust responsibilities
Tim Giago: How 'Wizard of Oz' remains connected to the genocide of our people
Brian Lightfoot Brown: Grandmothers are the backbones of our tribal communities
Native Sun News Today: Lakota woman removed from grave by adoptive mother
>>> more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.