A view from the East: Who should cast stones at the Lumbee Nation?

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Savilla, Elmer M. “A view from the East: Who should cast stones at the Lumbee Nation?” Indian Country today (Lakota Times) 8.10 (September 6, 1988): 5.


This article relates to two bills, H.R. 5042 and S. 2672, for true federal recognition of the Lumbee. Hearings on the bills were held on August 12 and 13, 1988 [see The Lumbee Indians: An annotated bibliography, items 1379 and 1380].

Savilla recalls the 1975 annual convention of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), where the Lumbee presented a resolution asking for NCAI’s support for the federal recognition bills then before Congress (H.R. 12216 and S. 4045; see The Lumbee Indians: An annotated bibliography, item 1368]. Savilla (who chaired the resolutions portion of the convention) recalls that several tribes voted nay to the resolution, some tried to limit the time given the Lumbee to make their case for the resolution, and some privately stated that they oppose Lumbee recognition because the tribe is mixed blood.

Savilla supports Lumbee recognition, citing the historical evidence of Lumbee existence as a tribe that has been gathered by anthropologists and ethnologists; the tribe’s educational accomplishments, including establishment of Pembroke State University; and the notable achievements of many Lumbee individuals, including Brantley Blue. He urges readers to call or write in support of Lumbee recognition. He concludes: “The objections based on mixed-blood are not valid objections, because at this period in our history which tribe can point to its full membership as being 4/4 Indian? The simple truth is that there is no longer a tribe without mixed-blood members. One argument for tribes to support federal recognition of the Lumbee is that politically we are a very small minority. Politically, we need their numbers. That is only one important practical reason to support them in their bid. However, the most important reason is a moral one: because it’s the right thing to do.”

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