Road to Recognition: Lumbee Tribe continues push
The Fayetteville Observer is running a series on the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and its efforts to win federal recognition.

Tribal leaders first petitioned the Interior Department for recognition in 1888. But nothing happened until 1956, when Congress passed a law that identified the Lumbees as Indians but denied them federal services.

The tribe at first thought the law was a victory until learning what it really meant. Since then, the Lumbees have sought to be treated like other tribes but they have faced obstacles in the state and from other tribes.

The tribe, however, has a number of supporters in Congress. And President Barack Obama, when he was on the campaign trial, said he backed Lumbee recognition.

“We know who we are, but getting the validation from the United States government is what this battle is about,” Chairman Jimmy Goins told the paper. “So our people can finally be treated as first-class Indians and not second-class.”

Congress has restored recognition to two other tribes who were treated in a manner similar to the Lumbees. The Observer spent time with the Tigua Tribe of Texas to learn how it has benefited from recognition and how signing away its gaming rights -- which the Lumbees have agreed to do -- has affected the tribe.

Get the Story:
Push for tribal recognition faces challenges (The Fayetteville Observer 3/8)
Road to recognition: Lumbees learn from travails of Texas tribe (The Fayetteville Observer 3/8)
Road to recognition: Federal aid a boon to Tigua tribe (The Fayetteville Observer 3/9)
Recognition could bring Robeson economic boom (The Fayetteville Observer 3/9)
Loss of casino rights costs tribe millions of dollars (The Fayetteville Observer 3/9)
Texas tribe's businesses struggle in tough economic times (The Fayetteville Observer 3/9)

Lumbee Recognition Bill:

Related Stories:
Indian inmates fight over Lumbee recognition (2/24)
Lumbee Tribe recognition bill introduced again (01/15)