Federal recognition of Lumbee Indian tribe raises questions.

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McIntyre, Dole, and Tim Funk.  “Federal recognition of Lumbee Indian tribe raises questions.” Knight-Ridder/Tribune business news April 2, 2004: ITEM04093039.


This article reviews some of the issues raised during the April 1, 2004 hearing of the House Resources Committee on H.R. 898, introduced in the House by Rep. Mike McIntyre on February 25, 2003.  The issues mentioned in this account of the hearing include:

  • the size of the tribe (approximately 53,000 members);
  • the cost of providing federal services (the estimate given in this article was $77 million a year);
  • the impact of gambling, if the tribe opens a casino;
  • whether the cost of services to the Lumbee would mean reduced funding for other federally recognized tribes
  • the belief of some that the Lumbee should go through the BIA acknowledgment process rather than the Congressional process (although Congress granted federal recognition to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee in 1868).

Opposition comes from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, who have thus far contributed $27,000 to Congressional  campaigns in 2003-2004.  The tribe believes the Lumbee should go through the BIA recognition process and also worries that recognition for some 53,000 Lumbees would mean less federal funding for the 13,000 Cherokees in Western North Carolina.

Arlinda Locklear, the tribe's attorney, discussed the many procedural steps (including a favorable vote in a referendum of all enrolled Lumbees) that would be required to start a Lumbee-run casino.  She also explained the strong role of churches among the Lumbee and noted that “the tribe has expressed no interest in a casino at all.  And we were seeking recognition a full 100 years before there were any Indian casinos.”

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