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
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...

Latest Headlines:

Deb Haaland 'ready to fight' as first Native American woman in halls of Congress
Navajo Nation leaders offer condolences to family of Code Talker Teddy Draper
Ponca Tribe faces roadblock with lawsuit challenging restoration of homelands
Native Sun News Today: Indigenous 'pray-in' takes aim at drilling in Alaska refuge
Suzan Shown Harjo: Offensive mascots belong in museums and history books
Rising Hearts activists claim victory with viral #GoRedhawks mascot campaign
YES! Magazine: Indigenous activist Gloria Lucas leads body positive movement
Quapaw Tribe paid $50,000 to senior Trump administration official for 'research'
Shooter at school near reservation frequented pro-Trump White supremacist sites
Omaha Tribe leaders and former leaders headed to trials for theft of federal funds
Landmark study finds high rate of workplace harassment at Bureau of Indian Affairs
Native Sun News Today: Dakota prayer ride and walk puts focus on Keystone spill
Native Sun News Today Editorial: Why won't Donald Trump release his tax returns?
Robert Hill: President Trump has been insulting indigenous peoples for decades
Navajo Nation signs contract to implement AMBER Alert system on reservation
White Mountain Apache Tribe refutes Facebook post about closure of ski resort
Stillaguamish Tribe puts casino name on arena in $3.4 million naming rights deal
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community shares more than $1.4 million in casino revenue
Mohegan Tribe pays a record $1 million in gaming fines for lapses in Pennsylvania
Native activists go viral with 'Redhawks' campaign aimed at team's racist mascot
Minnesota governor passes over Native lawmaker with appointment to Senate seat
Doug George-Kanentiio: Onondaga Chief Chief Irv Powless was a legend and a friend
Navajo Nation accusses Wells Fargo Bank of exploiting tribal citizens in new lawsuit
Havasupai Tribe sees mixed victory in litigation to protect Grand Canyon from uranium
Democrat Doug Jones claims win in Senate race roiled by sexual misconduct scandal
Former Shinnecock Nation official sentenced for cybercrime that derailed casino plan
Major changes in store as trust reform office returns home to Bureau of Indian Affairs
Trump team reinstates delay for land-into-trust applications without consulting tribes
Choctaw Nation citizen taking oath of office as top federal prosecutor in Oklahoma
Albert Bender: Wisconsin police kill 14-year-old indigenous boy on his own homeland
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation takes the lead in embracing green energy solutions
Native Sun News Today: Family raises awareness after Lakota man dies in Rapid City
David Ganje: South Dakota must do more to protect ground water and surface water
Indian Child Welfare Act under attack again as conservative group submits appeal
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community secures federal permit to manufacture tobacco
Soboba Band on track to finish fast-rising replacement gaming facility next summer
Supreme Court shakes up docket by accepting sovereignty case at request of tribe
Supreme Court brings good news to Quapaw Tribe in restoration of homelands case
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe in limbo as Supreme Court delays sovereignty dispute
House committee schedules markup on Alaska Native health and Oregon tribal bills
Mark Trahant: Minnesota could make history with first Native woman in Congress
Dean Parisian: The answers to problems at Pine Ridge must come from Pine Ridge
Native Sun News Today: Tribes promise 'war' over gold mining in sacred Black Hills
Native Sun News Today Review: Book looks into heritage of activist Russell Means
Cronkite News: Republican resigns immediately after details of misconduct surface
YES! Magazine: Tribes lead battles against big oil projects in the Pacific Northwest
Gun Lake Tribe surpasses $100 million mark in gaming revenues shared in Michigan
Omaha Tribe fires back after being accused of mismanaging federal disaster funds
Mark Trahant: Paulette Jordan launches historic campaign for governor of Idaho
Native Sun News Today: Oglala Sioux Tribe joins heated debate over drug patents
YES! Magazine: President Trump's shrinking of Bears Ears won't survive in courts
James Giago Davies: You can't break from the past until you admit you're stuck
Federal jury returns guilty verdict for brutal murder of woman on Crow Reservation
Eastern Cherokees cheer high school football team at state championship game
Secretary Zinke defends use of government helicopters for trips near Washington
Lawmakers with connections to Indian Country resign due to sexual harassment
Congress passes bill to avert shutdown of federal agencies for another two weeks
Montaukett Indian Nation denied a second time as governor vetoes recognition bill
Leech Lake Band breaks ground on replacement casino with help from fellow tribe
Tohono O'odham Nation celebrates start of work on $400 million permanent casino
Trump administration throws up hurdles for first new tribal water rights settlements
Navajo Nation leaders offer condolences after three students die in school shooting
>>> 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.