C-SPAN Video: Blanket from Lumbee Tribe gifted during Capitol Hill hearing
Blanket from Lumbee Tribe gifted during Capitol Hill hearing
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Indianz.Com

Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) made a special presentation to a colleague during a hearing on Capitol Hill this week.

“I wanna help my good friend, Sen. Kaine,” Burr said in reference to Tim Kaine, Democrat from Virginia.

Kaine, a former Democratic nominee for vice president, made news after being stranded in his vehicle during a major winter snow storm. It took him 27 hours to get from his home in Virginia to the U.S. Capitol on January 4.

In preparation for future incidents, Burr offered some items to Kaine during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday.

“I wanna make sure he’s got an orange for his car, that he’s got a Dr. Pepper,” Burr said of the first two.

The third item had a connection to Indian Country — and to an issue close to Burr’s legislative agenda.

“And I’ve provided a Lumbee blanket to make sure that these are three things that you’ve got in your car regardless of what you run into on I-95,” Burr said in reference to a rolled-up blanket that featured the seal of the Lumbee Tribe.

Burr is the sponsor of S.1364, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina Recognition Act. The bill extends federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe, whose relationship with the United States has been in limbo since the termination era of Indian policy in the 1950s.

Kaine, incidentally, was the sponsor of Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act. The bill, which became law in 2017, was the last stand-alone federal recognition measure to pass both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

Indianz.Com Video: U.S. House of Representatives – H.R.2758, Lumbee Recognition Act – November 1, 2021

On November 1, 2021, the first day of National Native American Heritage Month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.2758, a companion version of Burr’s bill. But action in the U.S. Senate remains uncertain despite bipartisan support for the Lumbees, who were identified as “Indians” in the 1956 law that has hindered their federal status.

For the Lumbees, the blanket has long been seen as an important symbol to provide to dignitaries, particularly members of Congress. Recently, the tribe gifted them to supporters of the recognition bill, including Rep. Dan Bishop (R-North Carolina) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-North Carolina).

And now another member of Congress can look to the Lumbee blanket in times of need.

“Tim, we’re sorry you had to spend 27 hours but you’re now qualified to be the Secretary of Transportation, if you’re looking for a second job,” Burr told Kaine.

As Burr presented the gifts, Kaine could be heard laughing in the background of the hearing. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), the chair of the committee, interjected.

“I hope you provide those for everyone,” Murray said at the beginning of the hearing, which focused on the state of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, notably the Omicron variant that is spreading rapidly throughout the nation.

“It’s sad when a career in the Senate’s most notable highlight is my long commute,” offered Kaine, who has served in the chamber since 2013.

Related Stories
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on S.1364, H.R.1975, H.R.2088 & H.R.4881 (November 19, 2021)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Business Meeting and Legislative Hearing (November 17, 2021)
H.R.2758 – Lumbee Recognition Act (November 2, 2021)
Indian Country bills set for passage in U.S. House of Representatives (November 1, 2021)
Key Senate leader seeks hearing on Lumbee Tribe federal recognition (May 12, 2021)