Lawyer alleges secret Lumbee meetings with gaming reps

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Hixenbaugh, Mike. "Lawyer alleges secret Lumbee meetings with gaming reps." Fayetteville Observer January 1, 2011.


Arlinda Locklear, a Lumbee lawyer who has represented the Lumbee for the last 20 years, wrote a letter, after the tribe failed yet again to gain federal recognition, revealing that Lumbee tribal leaders were holding secret meetings with Indian gaming representatives. These meetings continued even after the Tribal Council unanimously agreed in 2007 to include a gaming prohibition in the tribe's recognition bill.

The meetings led to negotiations with Lewin International, a gaming consultant agency based in Nevada. The relationship was short lived, but it damaged the Lumbee tribe's reputation.

"I'm speaking out because I think the Lumbee people deserve to know the truth, Locklear said. "I kept silent for several months, hoping the bill would go through and clear the Senate. When it didn't, I decided I needed to share the truth."

Reactions to Arlinda Locklear's letter have been mixed.

The tribe went more than three months without a formal lobbyist.

"That lost time absolutely damaged our bill," Locklear said. "That period of inactivity, combined with the association with gaming, made the bill next to impossible to pass."

A recognition passed the House in 2009, but never reached a floor vote in the Senate.

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