Editorial: Lumbees erect barriers to recognition
"Last Wednesday a delegation of Lumbee Indians that included Indiana University basketball coach Kelvin Sampson headed to Washington, D.C., where they made an impassioned - and convincing - plea to a U.S. House of Representatives committee for federal recognition.

The next night, that same effort was undermined during a meeting of the Lumbee Tribal Council, as opponents of federal recognition were given more ammunition in their fight to stop it.

Last September, the Tribal Council tried to eliminate the position of deputy tribal administrator, which would have put James Hardin out of work while freeing up $88,920 a year in salary for other needs. That effort failed, but a compromise was reached: Hardin would continue to work as deputy administrator but his salary would be slashed to $48,000 a year for the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1.

But the paperwork apparently wasn't turned in because Hardin kept drawing the larger salary until Dec. 11, when the lower salary took effect only after a member of the Finance Committee brought the problem to the attention of Tribal Administrator Leon Jacobs.

Thursday's action by the council just fuels accusations that it is more concerned with creating jobs and high salaries for cronies than it is with delivering services to a needy populace.

All this, and the tribe is asking for federal recognition that would bring approximately $80 million a year into the county for health care, education and economic development. We believe the hill toward recognition just got taller and steeper."

Get the Story:
Editorial: A tribal misstep (The Robesonian 4/23)

Related Story:
Tribal Council: Name change adds $16,000 to salary (The Robesonian 4/23)

Committee Hearing:
Full Committee Legislative Hearing: H.R. 1294 and H.R. 65 (April 18, 2007

Recognition Bill:
Lumbee Recognition Act (H.R.65)

Relevant Links:
Official Lumbee Tribe website - http://www.lumbeetribe.com

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