Opinion | Federal Recognition

Editorial: It's time for the Lumbee Tribe to gain full recognition






The Southern Sun Drum Group helps celebrate the 58th anniversary of the Victory at Hayes Pond in North Carolina. The tribe expelled the Ku Klux Klan from its territory in January 1958. Photo from Lumbee Tribe

The Lumbee Tribe has been seeking federal recognition for more than a century. A North Carolina newspaper says it's time for the tribe to gain its rightful status as S.2285, the Lumbee Recognition Act, got its first hearing on Capitol Hill:
In fact, the recognition struggle is only about the benefits, not recognition itself. The Lumbees got that from Congress in a federal law passed in 1956. They already are a federally recognized tribe. But that law specifically prohibits the tribe from receiving benefits that other recognized tribes get. The door was opened 60 years ago, and then slammed in the tribe's face.

Since then, the tribe has struggled to overcome that one final obstacle to receiving the same benefits given to every other recognized tribe in the United States. The tribe does get some federal funding, including Department of Housing and Urban Development grants. But it has been plagued with charges of misuse of those funds. A few clean audits would really help the tribe's recognition cause. So would some strong and effective lobbying.

But in the end, it's a simple issue of fairness. The Lumbee tribe has long had federal recognition but was denied the benefits it deserves.

It's time to make that right.

Read More:
Our View: Lumbee recognition effort rekindled in Washington (The Fayetteville Observer 9/9)

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 2285, S. 3234, S. 3261 & H.R. 4685 (September 7, 2016)

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