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  • Distributive justice against Lumbee recognition

    Distributive justice against Lumbee recognition

    Posted: April 09, 2004 - 11:08am EST
    by: Jerry Reynolds / Washington D.C. correspondent / Indian Country Today

    WASHINGTON - By any standard of abstract justice, the Lumbee of North Carolina answered critics of their case for full federal recognition at a packed hearing of the Committee on Resources in the House of Representatives April 1. The occasion was H.R. 898, the Lumbee Recognition Act.

    Not only did the Lumbee refute every argument brought against them on the merits, but they also had to argue their way into the hearing room. With space limited, the Eastern Cherokee delegation, principal opponents of full federal recognition for the Lumbee, hired people to hold them a place in line, according to an attorney for the Lumbee, Arlinda F. Locklear, and others present at the pre-hearing dispute. For a while it seemed that the very subjects of the hearing, Lumbee people, would not be allowed in the room because of overcrowding. But here at least, justice prevailed and the Capitol Police spent an hour enforcing it.

    With that small struggle for distributive justice won, much larger ones loom for the Lumbee. From the testimony April 1, H.R. 898 will boil down to a simple question of distributive justice. As opposed to the body of reasoned argumentation that determines our view of what is just in the abstract, distributive justice asks how resources are most fairly distributed. The simple question of distributive justice in the Lumbee case is this - can Indian country afford the full federal recognition of 50,000 Lumbee, making it the third-largest tribe in the nation?

    The Eastern Cherokee and their allies in North Carolina think not. They fear the Lumbee will install a casino along Interstate 95, the primary north-south artery of the eastern seaboard. An I-95 complex in Robeson County, N.C., home of the Lumbee, would be within easy reach of Fort Bragg, Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill, Pinehurst, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and South Carolina’s military installations. Even without the lure of a casino, 39,000 vehicles a day use I-95 in Robeson County. A casino there is apt to be a billion dollar operation annually, according to one expert. The Lumbee deny any plans for a casino, but no future federally recognized council would be bound by the deliberations of its predecessor councils; and so many consider a Lumbee casino a foregone conclusion if Congress confers recognition.

    "This is a major concern in my state," said William J. Brooks Jr., president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. "North Carolina remains one of 11 states in the nation without a state lottery, and our citizens and state lawmakers have traditionally resisted gambling at almost every opportunity. The only forms of gambling that are legal in North Carolina are bingo, limited video gambling with no cash payouts, and the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in the mountains of western North Carolina, which offers only bingo and video-based machines.

    "In fact, the Cherokee casino … is somewhat difficult to get to, not being on an interstate or other major highway. Nevertheless, this facility boasts about 3.3 million annual visits, making it the largest private tourist attraction in North Carolina."

    The council is neutral on full Lumbee federal recognition, Brooks said. It favors a moratorium on gambling expansion in the United States, and Brooks testified to that effect at the hearing.

    Eastern Cherokee Chairman Michell Hicks soft-pedaled any concern over a Lumbee threat to the tribe’s monopoly on North Carolina casino gambling. His concern was with the federal budget. H.R. 898 "could cost more than 682 million in taxpayer dollars over four years and further decrease the funds existing tribes and Indians receive."

    United Southern and Eastern Tribes, a 24-tribe coalition, joined the Eastern Cherokee in opposition to H.R. 898. Tim Martin, USET executive director, cited a recent Congressional Budget Office study documenting the adverse budgetary impact a Lumbee-sized tribe would have on other tribes. Like most tribes east of the Mississippi River, the USET tribes tend to have small populations and a limited land base. Like small tribes and many other tribes and tribal organizations nationwide, the organization has already expressed concerns about cutbacks in the BIA direct-service budget.

    Non-financial arguments against the Lumbee claim fell by the wayside under questioning from Lumbee allies on the committee, chiefly Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Eni Faleomavaega, at-large member for American Samoa. (Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., a leading advocate of Lumbee recognition, testified in favor of H.R. 898, but as a senator in the House forum she could not pose questions.)

    The Lumbee, recognized by the state of North Carolina in 1885, are already a federally recognized tribe, but the 1956 congressional legislation came without the financial and other entitlements enjoyed by other federally recognized tribes. The Lumbee have described themselves under other names than Lumbee, but they have done so only on the initiative of the Interior Department, according to Locklear.

    To recognize the Lumbee now by an act of Congress would indeed constitute an exception to the BIA recognition process established in 1978. But how much of an exception can it be when only 16 tribes have ever been recognized by that process? Martin admitted under questioning that only six USET tribes have been through the federal recognition process. Also under questioning, Hicks acknowledged that the Eastern Cherokee were federally recognized by an act of Congress.

    In any case, the Lumbee are considered worthy of exception due to unique circumstances - the 1956 legislation that recognized them also barred them from federal benefits, including the right to seek recognition under the 1978 process. Without any other way open to them, the Lumbee seek an act of Congress.

    An alternative remedy would be to enact legislation enabling the Lumbee to seek federal recognition within the system dating from 1978. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., the committee chairman, said he will introduce such legislation, despite a companion hearing March 31 that found tribe after tribe complaining about the red tape, expense, longevity and arbitrariness of the recognition proceedings. The Lumbee themselves resist this remedy, contending they’ve proved their case again and again since 1888, when the tribe first petitioned for federal recognition.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This article can be found at http://IndianCountry.com/?1081523424
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  • #2
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Why is it that other tribes are so opposed to Lumbee's getting federal rec.? Why are we always bringing one another down, instead of building one another up? This is how we lost everything in the first place. Is it that one tribe is scared another is going to get more than them or is it just about a casino and MONEY??? ( Money is the root of all evil!!) As far as I'm concerned we're all in this together ( Native Americans ) and if we don't stand together and become a united nation of TRIBES we will never preveil against those who work everyday to keep us down![/FONT]
    Originally posted by Smokin' Ace
    Distributive justice against Lumbee recognition

    Posted: April 09, 2004 - 11:08am EST
    by: Jerry Reynolds / Washington D.C. correspondent / Indian Country Today

    WASHINGTON - By any standard of abstract justice, the Lumbee of North Carolina answered critics of their case for full federal recognition at a packed hearing of the Committee on Resources in the House of Representatives April 1. The occasion was H.R. 898, the Lumbee Recognition Act.

    Not only did the Lumbee refute every argument brought against them on the merits, but they also had to argue their way into the hearing room. With space limited, the Eastern Cherokee delegation, principal opponents of full federal recognition for the Lumbee, hired people to hold them a place in line, according to an attorney for the Lumbee, Arlinda F. Locklear, and others present at the pre-hearing dispute. For a while it seemed that the very subjects of the hearing, Lumbee people, would not be allowed in the room because of overcrowding. But here at least, justice prevailed and the Capitol Police spent an hour enforcing it.

    With that small struggle for distributive justice won, much larger ones loom for the Lumbee. From the testimony April 1, H.R. 898 will boil down to a simple question of distributive justice. As opposed to the body of reasoned argumentation that determines our view of what is just in the abstract, distributive justice asks how resources are most fairly distributed. The simple question of distributive justice in the Lumbee case is this - can Indian country afford the full federal recognition of 50,000 Lumbee, making it the third-largest tribe in the nation?

    The Eastern Cherokee and their allies in North Carolina think not. They fear the Lumbee will install a casino along Interstate 95, the primary north-south artery of the eastern seaboard. An I-95 complex in Robeson County, N.C., home of the Lumbee, would be within easy reach of Fort Bragg, Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill, Pinehurst, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and South Carolina’s military installations. Even without the lure of a casino, 39,000 vehicles a day use I-95 in Robeson County. A casino there is apt to be a billion dollar operation annually, according to one expert. The Lumbee deny any plans for a casino, but no future federally recognized council would be bound by the deliberations of its predecessor councils; and so many consider a Lumbee casino a foregone conclusion if Congress confers recognition.

    "This is a major concern in my state," said William J. Brooks Jr., president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. "North Carolina remains one of 11 states in the nation without a state lottery, and our citizens and state lawmakers have traditionally resisted gambling at almost every opportunity. The only forms of gambling that are legal in North Carolina are bingo, limited video gambling with no cash payouts, and the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in the mountains of western North Carolina, which offers only bingo and video-based machines.

    "In fact, the Cherokee casino … is somewhat difficult to get to, not being on an interstate or other major highway. Nevertheless, this facility boasts about 3.3 million annual visits, making it the largest private tourist attraction in North Carolina."

    The council is neutral on full Lumbee federal recognition, Brooks said. It favors a moratorium on gambling expansion in the United States, and Brooks testified to that effect at the hearing.

    Eastern Cherokee Chairman Michell Hicks soft-pedaled any concern over a Lumbee threat to the tribe’s monopoly on North Carolina casino gambling. His concern was with the federal budget. H.R. 898 "could cost more than 682 million in taxpayer dollars over four years and further decrease the funds existing tribes and Indians receive."

    United Southern and Eastern Tribes, a 24-tribe coalition, joined the Eastern Cherokee in opposition to H.R. 898. Tim Martin, USET executive director, cited a recent Congressional Budget Office study documenting the adverse budgetary impact a Lumbee-sized tribe would have on other tribes. Like most tribes east of the Mississippi River, the USET tribes tend to have small populations and a limited land base. Like small tribes and many other tribes and tribal organizations nationwide, the organization has already expressed concerns about cutbacks in the BIA direct-service budget.

    Non-financial arguments against the Lumbee claim fell by the wayside under questioning from Lumbee allies on the committee, chiefly Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Eni Faleomavaega, at-large member for American Samoa. (Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., a leading advocate of Lumbee recognition, testified in favor of H.R. 898, but as a senator in the House forum she could not pose questions.)

    The Lumbee, recognized by the state of North Carolina in 1885, are already a federally recognized tribe, but the 1956 congressional legislation came without the financial and other entitlements enjoyed by other federally recognized tribes. The Lumbee have described themselves under other names than Lumbee, but they have done so only on the initiative of the Interior Department, according to Locklear.

    To recognize the Lumbee now by an act of Congress would indeed constitute an exception to the BIA recognition process established in 1978. But how much of an exception can it be when only 16 tribes have ever been recognized by that process? Martin admitted under questioning that only six USET tribes have been through the federal recognition process. Also under questioning, Hicks acknowledged that the Eastern Cherokee were federally recognized by an act of Congress.

    In any case, the Lumbee are considered worthy of exception due to unique circumstances - the 1956 legislation that recognized them also barred them from federal benefits, including the right to seek recognition under the 1978 process. Without any other way open to them, the Lumbee seek an act of Congress.

    An alternative remedy would be to enact legislation enabling the Lumbee to seek federal recognition within the system dating from 1978. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., the committee chairman, said he will introduce such legislation, despite a companion hearing March 31 that found tribe after tribe complaining about the red tape, expense, longevity and arbitrariness of the recognition proceedings. The Lumbee themselves resist this remedy, contending they’ve proved their case again and again since 1888, when the tribe first petitioned for federal recognition.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This article can be found at http://IndianCountry.com/?1081523424
    Don't take life so serious no one gets out alive!

    Comment


    • #3
      First let me state I am not anti-lumbee or their recognition.... however:

      There is a finite amount of money distributed to each nation for things such as school funding and medical and housing..
      should the lumbee be recognized, what goes to each tribe now will become sufficiently much smaller because of the amount of lumbee that there are. Someone had once argued that it is up to the government to make the funding larger should they become recognized, but where there is no money, there is no more to be given... in fact it's being taken away more and more each time... inflation grows, funds get smaller.
      Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        I understand what you are saying, but it's not their fault that the goverment waste's money. Can you please explain to me how that is a valid reason not to let the Lumbee get federal recognition just because of money? As far as I'm concerned the money means nothing to me! It's the recognition that we deserve. It seems to me there is a asigmatism associated with being Lumbee. Why do the tribes protesting us getting our recognition feel we are not worthy? I know some of it is about money, but there has been some very mean comments made about the Lumbee. I think that is not going to help anyone's argument for the simple fact it highlight's that we are still not supporting each other, but rather tearing one another apart. Why does money bring out the worst in us? NATIVE'S UNIT! BECOME ONE NATION OF UNITED TRIBES!
        Originally posted by Blackbear
        First let me state I am not anti-lumbee or their recognition.... however:

        There is a finite amount of money distributed to each nation for things such as school funding and medical and housing..
        should the lumbee be recognized, what goes to each tribe now will become sufficiently much smaller because of the amount of lumbee that there are. Someone had once argued that it is up to the government to make the funding larger should they become recognized, but where there is no money, there is no more to be given... in fact it's being taken away more and more each time... inflation grows, funds get smaller.
        Don't take life so serious no one gets out alive!

        Comment


        • #5
          Any debate on recognition should never include arguments or testimony relating to funding...not the issue. It should also not be based on whether or not a tribe wants to open a casino or not. Issues of recognition should be based on the merits of the tribe's case for recognition...pure and simple.

          Many tribes feel though that the Lumbees are trying to circumvent the system by going through Congressional means in seeking their recognition. There is a process in place that other tribes are currently going through. Granted, its a 100% flawed system that takes forever, but it is the sytem in place at this time. Maybe the fight here should be to change the recognition system?
          I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree the system is flawed in so many ways. I still think if we don't stand together these changes will never come full circle. I know it may never happen, but my heart wants UNITY! The other tribes that are going throw the process already in place are doing it right and if the Lumbee are going throw a different process I will have to figure out were we stand and why we are not going throw the current process. There is a lot I don't know!
            Don't take life so serious no one gets out alive!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Singerdad
              Any debate on recognition should never include arguments or testimony relating to funding...not the issue. It should also not be based on whether or not a tribe wants to open a casino or not. Issues of recognition should be based on the merits of the tribe's case for recognition...pure and simple.

              Many tribes feel though that the Lumbees are trying to circumvent the system by going through Congressional means in seeking their recognition. There is a process in place that other tribes are currently going through. Granted, its a 100% flawed system that takes forever, but it is the sytem in place at this time. Maybe the fight here should be to change the recognition system?
              Singerdad!

              I agree with you 100% that recognition should only be based on a tribes merits!

              And I must say, by reading a lot of the posts you have made on this site, that you Sir come off as being a very bright, intelligent, and reasonable person!

              Which is why, for the life of me, I can't figure out how you can keep defending the position that we are circumventing the established process?

              The 56 act has been discussed on here before! and how it is much older than the current BIA process!

              It has also been noted that roughly half (about fifteen) of the tribes to recieve recognition since the establishment of this process have been through congress.

              I have made it clear (perhaps, maybe not as clear as I should have) time and time again why I feel we are not circumventing anything.

              I mean you no disrespect Singerdad. And if you would, I'd like for you to elaborate to me why you still feel this way? What part of my arguments do you find to be flawed?

              Is it that you don't think the 56 act recognized us? Is it that you don't think it was specific enough? and if not, what should it have elaborated further upon?

              There have been over "NINE" "FEDERALLY" conducted investigations and reports conducted on the Lumbee tribe, covering various aspects of who we are. What is it that you feel we need to prove that we have'nt allready?

              I am asking you for a direct strait to the point response! I am tired of arguing this over and over again, lets make our positions as clear as possible, so that everyone reading this thread can come to a clear and concise opinion about the subject!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NDN GRITS
                I understand what you are saying, but it's not their fault that the goverment waste's money. Can you please explain to me how that is a valid reason not to let the Lumbee get federal recognition just because of money? As far as I'm concerned the money means nothing to me! It's the recognition that we deserve. It seems to me there is a asigmatism associated with being Lumbee. Why do the tribes protesting us getting our recognition feel we are not worthy? I know some of it is about money, but there has been some very mean comments made about the Lumbee. I think that is not going to help anyone's argument for the simple fact it highlight's that we are still not supporting each other, but rather tearing one another apart. Why does money bring out the worst in us? NATIVE'S UNIT! BECOME ONE NATION OF UNITED TRIBES!
                I never said it was a valid reason, but it's one of the reasons that other tribes would have to oppose the recognition. Is'nt that the question that was asked?
                Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by NDN GRITS
                  I agree the system is flawed in so many ways. I still think if we don't stand together these changes will never come full circle. I know it may never happen, but my heart wants UNITY! The other tribes that are going throw the process already in place are doing it right and if the Lumbee are going throw a different process I will have to figure out were we stand and why we are not going throw the current process. There is a lot I don't know!

                  Lumbee are not allowed by the Lumbee act to petition for recognition through the BIA process. And the BIA process has a requirement that you must not have anything that blocks you from going through their process as well, so it's out of the question. That is why they are going for congressional recognition.
                  Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks Blackbear, You are teaching me so much. Where can I go to learn more?
                    Last edited by NDN GRITS; 04-28-2006, 01:22 PM.
                    Don't take life so serious no one gets out alive!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Now I know one of the Rep put in a bill at the same time this started up again last year... to get their not being able to go through the BIA process lifted.

                      It is the Lumbee's ancestors - not sure of the year that did not push for all that the tribe could have received years ago.

                      It has been stated that not one native blood line makes them Lumbee's, they state that there are several blood lines. - I think that is what causes the most opposition.

                      I think looking back at their tribal history of the many different names that they were called, or called themselves - has caused many problems.

                      But I thought that the Lumbee's had partial Federal Recognition, yes you're recognized as a tribe , but not get the federal gov't money for support.
                      Well will wonders never cease.....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Okwataga
                        Now I know one of the Rep put in a bill at the same time this started up again last year... to get their not being able to go through the BIA process lifted.

                        It is the Lumbee's ancestors - not sure of the year that did not push for all that the tribe could have received years ago.

                        It has been stated that not one native blood line makes them Lumbee's, they state that there are several blood lines. - I think that is what causes the most opposition.

                        I think looking back at their tribal history of the many different names that they were called, or called themselves - has caused many problems.

                        But I thought that the Lumbee's had partial Federal Recognition, yes you're recognized as a tribe , but not get the federal gov't money for support.
                        Thanks, I didn't know that.
                        Don't take life so serious no one gets out alive!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Okwataga

                          It has been stated that not one native blood line makes them Lumbee's, they state that there are several blood lines. - I think that is what causes the most opposition.

                          I think looking back at their tribal history of the many different names that they were called, or called themselves - has caused many problems.

                          But I thought that the Lumbee's had partial Federal Recognition, yes you're recognized as a tribe , but not get the federal gov't money for support.
                          I can understand non-lumbees being confused by the fact that we have identified by different names. And I understand how this might dismay some people from feeling that we deserve full-recognition. All though I disagree with such positions, I do understand them.

                          What I do not understand is how it can be argued that we should have to go through the BIA process because of this.

                          The BIA cites that a tribe must show a connection to a historical tribe or tribes that have "combined as one people."

                          It is true that it has been debated which pre-colonial (as we became a distinct nation before white settlement here) nations had the strongest influence in the conglomoration that took place to form us "before White contact" (it is important that you note this).

                          But never has it been questioned in any of the over "NINE" federally conducted investigations and reports on the Lumbee tribe that we are in fact a distinct and seperate INDIGENOUS PEOPLE existing from historical times till present.

                          People may have their doubts as to what language (s) we spoke, but such doubts do not justify denying a tribe federal recognition, and no-where does it (or should it) specify in the federal regulations that we need to document this.

                          There are roughly 562 federally recognized tribes in this country. Over 500 of them were recognized through congressional legislation or treaty before the current administrative process was in place.

                          Where did it ever state in any of the bills, that recognized these tribes, what language they spoke or what kind of ceremonies they do/did!

                          These things are important and I can understand traditional natives having these concerns on a personal level for what ever reason. But I see absolutely no justification for another tribe to demand that we meet criteria that we allready have met!

                          The 1956 lumbee Act opens with the statement:

                          "Whereas many Indians now living in Robeson and adjoining counties are descendants of that once large and prosperous tribe which occupied the lands along the Lumbee River at the time of the earliest white settlements in that section"

                          "WE ARE ALLREADY FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED AS BEING THIS!!!!!" we owe no other proof! I do not understand why we should have to go through a process and prove that we are something that we are "ALLREADY RECOGNIZED AS BEING!"

                          What other tribes need to understand is that we do realize the importance of preserving, learning, and promoting our culture! We are dealing with this issue in our own way! But please, and this goes for everyone, understand that issues like this do not belong in a White mans court room!

                          We as distinct and seperate nations should deal with them on our own and in our own way!

                          Is what I'm saying making any since?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NDN GRITS
                            Thanks Blackbear, You are teaching me so much. Where can I go to learn more?
                            You can learn more by listening to the lumbees that post here.. that's where I've learned what I know.
                            Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blackbear
                              You can learn more by listening to the lumbees that post here.. that's where I've learned what I know.
                              Thanks, I'll keep my eyes open for more info.
                              Don't take life so serious no one gets out alive!

                              Comment

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