Lost cause.

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McMillan, Alex Frew. “Lost cause.” Business/North Carolina 15.10 (October 1, 1995): 40-48.


U.S. Representative Charlie Rose, whose 7th district includes Robeson County, sponsored bills twice that would have provided recognition (the 1956 Lumbee Act is simply a “commemorative”) for the Lumbee and brought $120-$150 million per year into Robeson County. The bills never made it onto the Senate floor because they never garnered the 60 votes that would have been necessary to override the filibuster planned by Senator Jesse Helms. The Lumbee believed that bringing this amount of money into the county, which had the sixth lowest per capita income in the state, would help everyone particularly whites, who own most businesses. No businessmen came forward in support of the bills, however; and support from the Lumberton Chamber of Commerce was limited.

Arlinda Locklear, an attorney and tribal advocate, believes one factor in this lack of support within the triracial county (the nation's 24th most ethnically diverse) itself was the Congressional Budget Office's overly large estimates of money the bill would require if passed. Locklear pointed out that the estimates include money the tribe is already receiving as a result of state recognition and also include funds for “trust responsibility” received by tribes with reservations (which won't apply to the Lumbee), as well as money for administration of law enforcement and other legal systems (even though the Lumbee Bill specifies that the Lumbee will remain under state legal jurisdiction). The BIA's estimates of $1,000 per tribal member per year rankled non-Indians, who did not understand that the allocation would not be administered as checks for each tribal member; rather, the estimate would be used as a way of allocating federal funds into the programs for which the Lumbee would be eligible.

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