Editorial: Only a 'miracle' can rescue Lumbee recognition bill
"This might have been one of the biggest years in Lumbee tribal history. It still might be. But it seems the longest of long shots that the tribe will win its long-sought federal recognition.

If tribal members want to hold someone accountable, they needn't look far. The problem is with their own leaders, who have done great damage to the recognition cause this year by steering the effort down a bumpy road filled with secrets and lies.

If all of this had happened in city, county or state government, a grand jury would be hearing testimony and issuing indictments. But the tribe has different rules and its members will ultimately decide whether their leaders stay or go.

Meanwhile, time is fleeting in this session of Congress. A recognition bill passed the House and gained approval from a key Senate committee. It has support in the Senate and from the president but also faces strong opposition from several other tribes, including North Carolina Cherokees.

The Lumbees have no Washington lobbyist, no one to push the bill and arm-twist its opponents. The tribal council's Federal Recognition Committee met for the first time in nine months this week, but did nothing. Tribal Chairman Purnell Swett says he has taken responsibility for the bill. But with weeks left before Congress' summer recess, and with elections on many senators' minds, there isn't much time.

We'll hope for the best, but it looks as if the tribe will need a miracle."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Long shot - Did tribal leaders scuttle recognition chances? (The Fayetteville Observer 6/17)

Also Today:
Lumbee protest group plans to be tribal watchdog (The Fayetteville Observer 5/17)
Lumbee lobbying not settled (The Fayetteville Observer 6/16)

Lumbee Recognition Bills:
S.1735 | H.R.31 | H.R.839

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