indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Indian Law Online Master Degree
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Lumbee Tribe makes case for federal recognition
Thursday, September 18, 2003

In the face of an impending hurricane, members of the Lumbee Tribe packed a Senate hearing on Wednesday as their supporters urged Congress to right a century-old wrong.

Backed by political heavyweights like Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), a former Cabinet official, Lumbee advocates made the case for full recognition of the largest tribe east of the Mississippi. The tribe has been waiting for an answer since 1888, when 45 Lumbee ancestors came to Washington, D.C., to petition for federal status.

The Lumbees now number more than 50,000, the overwhelming majority of whom live in southeastern North Carolina. But they are stuck in political limbo, due to a unique termination-era law passed in 1956 that denied them access to all the benefits and privileges afforded to other Indians.

"I don't want my grandchildren coming up here 100 years from now and saying their granddad talked about this," chairman Milton Hunt told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs."It's time that federal recognition for Lumbees came to pass."

Dole and Rep. Mike McIntyre (D), whose district includes the Lumbee's traditional territory, have introduced bills to recognize the tribe. In their testimony, both said the Lumbee's legitimacy has already been confirmed by the federal government in numerous reports dating to the early 1900s.

But a rival bill, introduced by Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), whose district represents the Eastern Band of Cherokees, would require the tribe to go through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has a regulatory process for determining who deserves federal status. Dole said this would create a further, unacceptable delay because of the backlog of recognition petitions before the agency.

"The Lumbees have already waited far too long," Dole testified. "It's been over one hundred years. Let's not make them wait another fifteen years."

Dole's bill doesn't have any co-sponsors but Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), vice-chairman of the Indian panel, said he supports recognition for the tribe. McIntyre's version has 225 co-sponsors.

"It's time for discrimination to end and recognition to begin," McIntyre said.

The Bush administration was represented by Aurene Martin, the principal deputy assistant secretary at the BIA. She did not outright voice any objections to recognition for the tribe.

But she said it would take several years for the BIA to verify the tribe's large membership. She also was worried that the bill, which designates the tribe's service area and grants civil and criminal jurisdiction to the state, could lead to problems in the future when the tribe exercises its sovereign rights.

Jack Campisi, a researcher who has worked in Lumbee communities for 20 years, said the tribe's case was "compelling." Of the seven mandatory criteria for recognition that the BIA uses, he said the Lumbees meet six, including political and historical continuity. The tribe can't meet the seventh because of the 1956 termination law.

Arlinda Locklear, a tribal member who was the first Native woman to argue before the Supreme Court, responded to a number of concerns raised by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), chairman of committee, and by others. She singled out the Department of Interior as the tribe's main roadblock to full recognition.

"I dare say that this tribe would be recognized today had it not been for the department's long-standing opposition to recognition," she told the committee, when asked whether going through the BIA's process would be acceptable. She said the language in the 1956 law was the result of the Interior's lobbying to Congress.

Locklear also said Martin's estimate that the Lumbees would consume 15 to 20 percent of the BIA's existing budget was a "gross exaggeration." The tribe participates in federal housing progress by virtue of its state recognition and wouldn't need many of the BIA's services, she said.

Opposition to the Lumbee bill came from the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), a organization of 24 federally recognized tribes, including the Eastern Cherokees. Executive director Tim Martin, a member of a tribe that was recognized by the BIA, said the Lumbees should be required to follow that path.

USET has traditionally opposed legislative recognition, Martin added. But he conceded that a number of USET's members were acknowledged by Congress, a fact that was pointed out more than once by Campbell.

Although Campbell said that Congress has to do something to break the "brick wall" facing the Lumbees, he didn't say whether he would support Dole's bill or back a Senate version of Taylor's.

Many Lumbees who attended the hearing felt it went very well. Their strategy is to get the Senate to act on the bill first and then move onto the House.

Tribal members were eager to return home due to Hurricane Isabel, which has forced the federal and district governments in Washington to shut down. Isabel is projected to hit the North Carolina coast this morning.

Relevant Documents:
Testimony, Witness List (September 17, 2003)

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:
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 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe gears up for uranium battle (8/20)
Eyapaha Today: J. Waylon Miller leads Friends of Cesar Romero (8/20)
Sandra Fox: Fixing the education system for our Indian children (8/20)
Albert Bender: US-backed genocide in Guatemalan spurs exodus (8/20)
Mark Chavaree: Penobscot Nation fights to save namesake river (8/20)
Mark Rogers: One more day with post-traumatic stress disorder (8/20)
Still no word on Cobell payments as end of August approaches (8/20)
Native boy found safe after going missing for nearly 24 hours (8/20)
9th Circuit allows Lummi Nation to pursue fishing rights claims (8/20)
St. Regis Mohawk Tribe gains support for land claim agreement (8/20)
Delaware Tribe to discuss plans for land with officials in Kansas (8/20)
Wind River Reservation students enjoy back-to-school haircuts (8/20)
Review: Native man serves as anti-hero in 'Winter In The Blood' (8/20)
Bill introduced to extend recognition to Clatsop-Nehalem Tribe (8/20)
Governor pressed on Menominee Nation off-reservation casino (8/20)
Group seeks referendum on Tohono O'odham Nation casino deal (8/20)
Lawmakers approve Class III gaming compact with Karuk Tribe (8/20)
Enterprise Rancheria awaits action on Class III gaming compact (8/20)
Wampanoag casino opponents hope to catch Obama's attention (8/20)
Opinion: Tribal gaming creates short term and long term benefits (8/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala man's business dealings under scrutiny (8/19)
Mark Trahant: Behind the scenes of Obamacare in Indian Country (8/19)
Peter d'Errico: Book told from perspective of the colonial invaders (8/19)
Brian Pierson: Recent federal court decisions affecting Indian law (8/19)
Opinion: Elder of Wukchumni Tribe working to keep language alive (8/19)
Large crowd turns out to denounce supremacist group's activities (8/19)
Oglala Sioux Tribe suspends officer who repeatedly used stun gun (8/19)
Alaska Native man being treated after being shot by police officer (8/19)
Another guilty plea comes in Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption case (8/19)
Leader of Muscogee Nation goes on trial in theft case next month (8/19)
Court in California won't let Choctaw girl be placed with relatives (8/19)
Tribes hail Oregon decision to deny permit for coal export project (8/19)
Al Jazeera: State struggles with Native language voting material (8/19)
NPR: Osage Nation disputes wind development on mineral estate (8/19)
Chickasaw Nation sell new blend of coffee made from chocolate (8/19)
Activists won't sue over school's Warriors mascot in Minnesota (8/19)
Broadcasters won't use racist mascot of Washington NFL team (8/19)
NIGA to hold mid-year conference at Chickasaw Nation casino (8/19)
Court won't allow former casino workers to sue Morongo Band (8/19)
Official from wine group likens a tribal casino to 'foreign nation' (8/19)
MPR: City pushes for casino amid battle with Fond du Lac Band (8/19)
Editorial: Karuk Tribe casino poses competition to Coquille Tribe (8/19)
Tim Giago: Media was well represented at Wounded Knee 1973 (8/18)
Native Sun News: GOP candidate rejects Senate debate at UTTC (8/18)
Clara Caufield: A Cheyenne Voice celebrates another milestone (8/18)
US House candidate John Lewis proud of Warm Springs heritage (8/18)
Aaron Payment: Story missed the boat on Soo Tribe gaming bid (8/18)
Michael Baines: Stop fighting land decision for Alaska Natives (8/18)
Albert Bender: Fair treatment needed for indigenous migrants (8/18)
John Christian Hopkins: How I became a writer at a young age (8/18)
Neil Young and Willie Nelson stage anti-Keystone benefit show (8/18)
Authorities in Manitoba probe murder of 15-year-old Native girl (8/18)
Judge dismisses case against Fort Peck Tribes housing official (8/18)
Museum in Germany balks at repatriating scalps to tribes in US (8/18)
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.