Op-ed: Making good on a promise to the Lumbee

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Locklear, Arlinda. "Op-ed: Making good on a promise to the Lumbee." Fayetteville Observer. December 29, 2010. 


Arlinda Locklear, one of the top representatives for the Lumbee recognition bill, speaks out about some of the things that have prevented the bill from passing.

According to Locklear, three years ago in 2007, the former Lumbee Chairman Jimmy Goins and Tribal Administrator Leon Jacobs were having secret meetings with a gaming consultant.

The Tribal Council had previously agreed to a gaming prohibition on the bill. The meetings with the gaming industry took place without Locklear knowing. When she found out, she promised the chairman and the administrator that if the meeting damaged the recognition bill, she would tell the Lumbee people what had happened.

The bill passed in the House twice with the gaming prohibition in it. The tribe said the bill was about recognition, not gaming. Yet, in December 2009, Chairman Goins and three Tribal Council members signed a contract with a gaming company.

After a few weeks, the gaming contractor withdrew from the contract because of the internal tribal opposition. Meanwhile, the bill was sitting in the Senate, waiting for the tribe to find a new lobbyist.

As a result, the bill died in the Senate, ruining, according to Locklear, one of the Lumbee tribe's best chances for the recognition bill to pass.

"Our people deserve federal recognition", Locklear said. "And I have kept my peace until the end of the Congress in the hope that our bill would still make it. Now that our bill has died, our people also deserve to know the truth. We cannot get the lost time back or our bill past this Congress. But perhaps, with the truth, we can get something just as important - an accountable and transparent tribal government."

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