President Trump backs recognition bill for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina

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Woolverton, Paul. "President Trump backs recognition bill for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina." Fayetteville Observer [Fayetteville, NC] October 21, 2020.


This article reports President Donald Trump's announcement of his "full support" for Senate bill 1368, The Lumbee Recognition Act, which would provide full federal recognition for North Carolina's Lumbee Tribe.

The economic benefits the bill would permit include assistance in the categories available to other tribes with full federal recognition (education, health, and economic development) as well as the option to open a casino in Robeson County (which would create jobs).

President Trump's announcement referred to his consultation with "Senator Thom Tillis, Representative Dan Bishop, and other members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation."

Harvey Godwin, chairperson of the Lumbee Tribe, stated that this announcement made the day "a great day to be Lumbee, and I don't say that lightly." He added his hope that a Lumbee recognition bill will pass Congress and be signed into law by the President by the end of 2020. He also noted that he has been working with Republican Senator Richard Burr, lead sponsor of the bill, for five years.

Two weeks ago, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden annoounced his support for legislation that would provide full federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe. Biden supports H.R. 1964, a House bill that is co-sponsored by Rep. Dan Bishop, a Republican who represents Robeson County's 9th Congressional District, and also has Congressional Democrats as co-sponsors.

The article notes that the Senate bill allows the Lumbee Tribe to open a casino, but the House bill does not address casinos. Tribal Chairperson Harvey Godwin stated that "the Lumbee would not open a casino unless the Lumbee people approve it in a referendum."

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