Editorial: Lumbee Tribe deserves recognition
"For generations, North Carolina's Lumbee Indian tribe has fought in vain for full federal recognition. This is a matter of fairness and justice. Recognition would entitle the Lumbees to federal benefits for housing, health care and education that other tribes enjoy. Recognition should also encourage economic development in the Robeson County area, where most of the 55,000-member tribe lives.

Congress passed legislation acknowledging the tribe in 1956. But an unfair caveat denied the Lumbees the benefits that other federally recognized tribes receive. Last year, the tribe came close to full recognition, when the U.S. House approved that status.

This year, the tribe may have its best chance at being approved for recognition by both chambers. U.S. Sens. Richard Burr of Winston-Salem and Kay Hagan of Greensboro support full recognition. And with a new president in power, the Interior Department is now supporting it.

At a congressional committee hearing on the House bill last week, George Skibine, an Interior Department deputy assistant secretary, said that his department's change in attitude was a matter of equity and good conscience, The Associated Press reported. Interior officials opposed recognition two years ago. The bill may go to the House for another vote in June. Then it could go on to the Senate. It's time for that to happen."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Recognize the Lumbee (The Winston Salem-Journal 3/26)

Lumbee Recognition Bill:

Committee Hearing:
Full Committee Legislative Hearing On H.R. 31 And H.R. 1385 (March 18, 2009)

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Witness list for hearing on recognition bills (3/17)
House Resources hearing on federal recognition bills (3/16)
Road to Recognition: Rival Lumbee bill introduced (3/11)
Bill to recognize Virginia tribes introduced in House (3/10)
Road to Recognition: Lumbee Tribe seeks housing (3/10)
Road to Recognition: Lumbee Tribe continues push (3/9)
Indian inmates fight over Lumbee recognition (2/24)
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