Lumbee chairman calls for unity in quest for federal recognition
The leader of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina called for unity after a lobbying controversy threatened efforts to gain federal recognition.

Chairman Purnell Swett said he has reached out to the Lumbee Sovereignty Coalition to address the group's concerns about tribal leadership. The group wants to recall Swett and other council members who had supported the lobbying deal.

"We are at a very critical point in the whole federal recognition process," Swett said at his first State of the Tribe address, The Fayetteville Observer reported. "We must work together."

The tribal council ended its relationship with Lewin International but hasn't asked Arlinda Locklear to rejoin the recognition effort. She represented the tribe for free for 22 years and was a consistent voice for Lumbee issues until the lobbying flap.

"You couldn't have paid me for what you have given me," Locklear said at an honoring dinner that took place at the same time as Swett's address, the paper reported. "I am of you; I am of this place; I am of the Lumbee people; and I am nothing without you."

Congress identified the Lumbees as Indians in 1956. But the law, which was passed during the termination era, said they weren't eligible for federal services.

Two other tribes that were the subject of similar acts of Congress have since been restored to federal recognition.

Get the Story:
Swett calls for unity in State of the Tribe address (The Fayetteville Observer 7/10)
Lumbee Tribe honors tireless advocate (The Fayetteville Observer 7/10)

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

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