Jenkins, Venita. “Indian center supporters hope changes help.” Fayetteville Observer May 12, 2003.
This article discusses the obstacles to financial success that have been faced by the North Carolina Indian Cultural Center, first proposed in 1981 (see The Lumbee Indians: an annotated bibliography, item 354). The three problem areas discussed are the center’s location (three miles southwest of Pembroke), lack of funding to develop the facilities and programs originally envisioned, and poor record-keeping by the center’s staff. Facilities now in existence include an activities building, picnic area, amphitheater, pond, swimming pool, and nature trail. The center has $50,000 in grant money to develop a camping area.
In January, the center sold 450 acres (planned for a gateway to the center) to pay bills and stave off foreclosure. In September 2000, District Attorney Johnson Britt requested an SBI investigation of the center’s financial affairs. The investigation stalled because the center had no money to pay for an audit. The audit is now forthcoming, and the SBI investigation is still open.
The center has had difficulty conducting its business because of a lack of a quorum at its board meetings. Representative Ronnie Sutton has submitted a bill expanding the number of board members and requiring that 11 of the 19 be from Robeson and adjoining counties (the board members who had trouble making meetings were from further away). The Chairperson of the center’s Board of Directors, Dobbs Oxendine, remarked that some people might oppose the bill, seeing it as a maneuver to make the center a Lumbee cultural center.
Oxendine believes that federal recognition for the Lumbees could help the cultural center, possibly bringing gaming—such as a bingo parlor—to the center.