Lumbee Tribe honors tireless advocate

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Hixenbaugh, Mike. "Lumbee Tribe honors tireless advocate." The Fayetteville Observer. 6 July 2010.


Arlinda Locklear, former legal counsel for the Lumbee Tribe's fight for full federal recognition in Washington, was honored by more than 100 Lumbee Tribe members on Tuesday, July 6, at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. For over 22 years Locklear represented the Lumbee Tribe pro bono but was traded for a Nevada gaming consultant, Lewin International, by the Lumbee Tribal Council.

Locklear has represented Native Americans for over 35 years in cases  ranging from tax disputes to treaty claims with Washington. In 1984, Locklear became the first Native American woman to argue a case before the U. S. Supreme Court, which she won. Locklear also has experience with Indian policy issues in Congress.

Cynthia Hunt, who “offered free administrative support to Locklear's efforts with her Pembroke firm, Legal Aid of North Carolina," was swept aside along with Locklear for Lewin International.

It has been over a month now since the deal with Lewin went south, and neither Locklear nor Hunt has been asked to come back to work for the Lumbee Tribe. With a bill in the Senate right now, the Lumbee Tribe needs legal counsel; but Locklear said that she doubted the Tribal Council would ask her to come back to the fight, nor does she know if she would accept the offer if it was given.

"You couldn't have paid me for what you have given me," Locklear said at the end of the dinner.  She added, "I am of you; I am of this place; I am of the Lumbee people; and I am nothing without you."

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