Editorial: Lumbee recognition long overdue

"Congress appears closer than ever to righting a 50-year-old wrong and at last granting formal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. The federal government has let this injustice go on far too long. The U.S. Senate should approve a House-passed bill making the Lumbee Indians eligible for benefits through the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In 1885, the State of North Carolina formally recognized the Lumbees of southeastern North Carolina, whose membership now embraces about 55,000 persons, many of whom live in Robeson County. In 1888 the tribe began seeking federal recognition, a process that makes the tribe eligible for certain benefits that other tribes have enjoyed for more than a century. Three studies in the early part of the 20th century established the legitimacy of the Lumbees, Sen. Dole told a hearing the other day.

But 51 years ago, when Congress finally passed a bill recognizing the Lumbee Tribe as an entity, it expressly denied Lumbees the benefits available to every other tribe recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. And it expressly prohibited the Lumbee Tribe from applying to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for recognition.

Full recognition of the Lumbees is clearly overdue. Rep. McIntyre persuaded the House to pass a Lumbee Tribe recognition bill earlier this year. Now it's before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The committee must recognize that this is a matter of the simplest fairness. To continue denying full recognition to the Lumbee Tribe will prolong an inequitable act of Congress and the denial of a proud group of people descended from Native Americans. The Senate must act."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Past time to act (The Charlotte Observer 9/24)

Another Opinion:
Editorial: Congress should fix recognition process but also pass Lumbee bill (The Fayetteville Observer 9/22)

More Lumbee News:
North Carolina Native Americans Fight For Federal Recognition (WSOC 9/24)
Lumbee recognition fight ongoing (The Daily Tar Heel 9/24)

Recognition Bill:
Lumbee Recognition Act (H.R.65)

Relevant Links:
Official Lumbee Tribe website - http://www.lumbeetribe.com

Related Stories:
Lumbee Tribe presses for federal recognition (9/20)
Senate Indian Affairs hearing on federal recognition (09/19)
Witness lists for Senate and House hearings (09/18)
Senate Indian Affairs sets hearing on recognition (9/13)
Lumbee Tribe hails House action on recognition (06/08)
Lawmakers urge no vote on Lumbee recognition bill (6/7)
House vote expected on Lumbee recognition bill (6/6)
Lumbee Tribe seeks to limit re-enrollments (05/18)
Editorial: Lumbee Tribe takes step to recognition (5/3)
Lumbee Tribe accused of stealing heritage (5/1)
Editorial: Lumbee recognition long overdue (4/27)
House committee approves Lumbee recognition (4/26)
House Resources markup: IHCIA, recognition (4/25)
Editorial: Lumbees erect barriers to recognition (4/24)
Lumbee Tribe presses for federal recognition (4/19)
House hearing on Lumbee, Virginia recognition (4/18)
SCIA sets April 12 meeting, hearing on tribal colleges (4/4)
House hearing on Lumbee, Virginia recognition (4/2)
Bill to recognize Lumbee Tribe introduced again (01/08)
Lumbee Tribe faces recognition battle again in 2007 (12/19)