Study: Congress cool to recognition - Lumbee professor surveys legislators

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Shiles, Bob. “Study: Congress cool to recognition – Lumbee professor surveys legislators.” The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC). February 15, 2015


A year-long study conducted by Jamie K. Oxendine, a Lumbee professor of North American Indians in the College of Languages, Literature & Social Sciences at The University of Toledo, showed that the Lumbee tribe has little support from Congress in its quest to receive tribal recognition at the federal level.

A total of 100 surveys were sent to federal legislators, and 71 were filled out and sent back. Of the 71, Oxendine met with 64 of the legislators, 52 house members and 12 senators, and shared the findings.

Forty of the 71 that answered said they had no knowledge of the Lumbee Recognition Bill at all. There were also many concerns about the tribe that were posed. The biggest issue that was discussed was the allocation of federal money to the tribe.

The Lewin Lumbee Scandal, which involved the tribe’s hiring of Lewin International LLC years ago, was a red flag as well, since the company is known for developing and operating full-service casinos. Other issues the legislators had with the Lumbee Tribe and the bill included: whether or not the Lumbee people have a tribe of their own, whether they copied other traditions, the fact that the website lacked pivotal information, inappropriate usage of United States Department of Housing & Urban Development funds, and the salaries of the staff.

Also, many legislators noted that when they or their aides tried to contact the tribe directly, they were often put on “indefinite hold” or even hung up on.

Three goals were suggested by the legislators, including: engaging and communicating with people, creating a cohesive information forum, and dedicating a person to be a public relations officer.

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