"A North Carolina Indian tribe that has sought federal recognition for years now has support from the federal agency that oversees tribal matters, which the petitioners say may signal a shift under the new president.
"Lumbee leaders attended a congressional Indian affairs committee hearing Wednesday in Washington on a bill that would give the tribe federal recognition, which would include federal funds, The Fayetteville Observer reported Thursday. The bill was proposed by Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-NC, who lives in Lumberton, and now is supported by the Interior Department.
"McIntyre told committee members that some have raised concerns about whether the Lumbee people are true Indians. He said those statements were 'a weak attempt to try and confuse the issue of federal recognition. ... The only tribe in America left in legal limbo is the Lumbee.'
"Federal status for the tribe would bring it millions of dollars for housing, health care, education and development. The Lumbee tribe is the largest east of the Mississippi and most of its 55,000 members live in the Robeson County area. ..."
This is very good news for the Tribe.