Looking back while walking forward: Maynor v. Morton, Part III.

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Hunt, Cynthia L. “Looking back while walking forward (column): Maynor v. Morton, Part III.” Carolina Indian Voice 27 April 2000: 5.


This article continues discussion of the “Original 22,” those individuals who were tested and certified by Carl Seltzer, and listed in Felix Cohen's April 8, 1935 memorandum, as 1/2 or more Indian blood. The Eastern Carolina Indian Organization (one of Robeson County's Tuscarora groups) obtained an attorney to help them work for benefits for the surviving Original 22 under the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). This article details a series of queries to the Solicitor of Indian Affairs's office and the Department of Interior, a lawsuit, and then an appeal of that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals in attempt to obtain benefits for the survivors. The argument of the ECIO and their attorney was that the “termination language” in the 1956 Lumbee Act did not terminate the rights of the Original 22 to benefits that had been granted to them before the 1956 act was passed. Maynor v. Morton, 510 F. 2d 1254 (4 April 1975) affirmed this argument, but--as the article documents--the survivors and their attorneys were never able to secure any benefits from the federal government. Hunt concludes, “. . . for all the significance and benefit Maynor v. Morton was to the tribe, the bottom line is that this was just another instance where the federal government treated Robeson County Indians in an unjust and unfair manner.”

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