indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
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...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Designation sought for Cheyenne warrior site (3/30)
Lakota Country Times: Efforts to rename sacred peak ramp up (3/30)
Mark Charles: Nation was built on the dehumanization of others (3/30)
Navajo Nation considers agreement for land-buy back program (3/30)
US Attorneys named to lead DOJ Native American subcommittee (3/30)
Kevin Abourezk: Students retrace journey of Chief Standing Bear (3/30)
Patricia Paul: Overcoming hardships and becoming a tribal judge (3/30)
Julianne Jennings: Taking care of our eyesight in Indian Country (3/30)
Chairman Michael Jandreau of Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in hospital (3/30)
Hundreds pay respects to Navajo Nation officer killed on the job (3/30)
Police officer who kicked Native man reinstated in Saskatchewan (3/30)
Native boy with rare disease granted wish to join favorite team (3/30)
Jury rules against Cheyenne River Sioux man in 'KKK' scar case (3/30)
BIA official expected to be released from hospital after stabbing (3/30)
BIA delays ruling on Pamunkey Tribe federal recognition petition (3/30)
Alex White Plume aims to grow hemp on Pine Ridge Reservation (3/30)
Blackfeet Nation opposes energy development on sacred lands (3/30)
Opinion: Don't include Indian Country in BLM fracking regulation (3/30)
Police looking for clues after murder of Indian man and woman (3/30)
Fort Peck Tribes might scale back plans for first gaming facility (3/30)
BIA rejects Menominee Nation off-reservation gaming compact (3/30)
Pokagon Band faces hurdles for a gaming compact with Indiana (3/30)
Nisqually Tribe to open second phase of $45M casino expansion (3/30)
Opinion: Expansion of gaming options not a good idea for Texas (3/30)
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (3/27)
Another conviction from Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption probe (3/27)
Editorial: Shakopee Tribe contributes $5M for health initiative (3/27)
Opinion: Navajo Nation enacts 'sin tax' on unhealthy products (3/27)
Editorial: Opposition to Pamunkey Tribe recognition 'revolting' (3/27)
Dennis Jenkins: Hypocrisy for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (3/27)
Supreme Court asked to hear Kialegee Tribal Town gaming case (3/27)
Ho-Chunk Nation extends agreement for off-reservation casino (3/27)
Indiana lawmakers seek role in Pokagon Band gaming compact (3/27)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak (3/26)
Native Youth: Bring dental therapy providers to Indian Country (3/26)
Steven Newcomb: Tribal nations still under dominating process (3/26)
Law firm hosts tribes for session on marijuana in Indian Country (3/26)
Judge upholds BIA decision on Oneida Nation land-into-trust bid (3/26)
Appeals court rules against Crow Tribe in housing grant dispute (3/26)
Ho-Chunk Nation raises minimum wage to $2.75 above federal (3/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe to appeal decision in recognition lawsuit (3/26)
Racist emails of former Montana federal judge to be preserved (3/26)
Shingle Springs Band considered but rejected indoor gun range (3/26)
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.