indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Obama's influence felt at Lumbee recognition hearing
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Filed Under: Recognition

The election of President Barack Obama brought change to Washington on Wednesday as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for the first time, endorsed federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

After years of opposing legislative recognition for the largest tribe east of the Mississippi, the BIA's new position was reflected in testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee. A senior official relayed the administration's unequivocal support for H.R.31.

"As a matter of equity and good conscience, it is time for the Lumbee Tribe to be recognized," said George Skibine, a career employee who is in charge of the BIA.

When asked by a committee member how the shift in thinking came about, Skibine wasn't able to single out a particular person. But it was clear from his answers that the direction came from the top levels at the Interior Department.

"The decision was made by the political leadership at Interior," testified Skibine, pointing to staff to Secretary Ken Salazar

Salazar, as another member pointed out, works for Obama. And it was the president who promised on the campaign trail to support the tribe's long-running federal recognition bid.

Although a version of the bill passed the House in 2007, Democratic leaders responded to the message. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia), the chairman of the committee, made the bill the first on his agenda for the 111th Congress.

But Republicans continue to oppose legislative recognition as a matter of principle. They want the tribe to go through the BIA's lengthy review process, which could take years, or even decades, to complete.

At least one Democrat agrees. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-North Carolina), who testified yesterday, has introduced a rival bill, H.R.839, to allow the state-recognized tribe to submit a petition to the BIA for consideration.

The BIA route is currently not available to the tribe because Congress, during the height of the termination era in the 1950s, passed a law that described the Lumbees as "Indians" but denied them the benefits associated with federal status.

Shuler's district includes the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, whose leaders have questioned the legitimacy of the Lumbee Tribe. Shuler said he didn't know how the Eastern Band gained federal recognition -- it was through an act of Congress -- when asked by Rahall.

The United South and Eastern Tribes also opposes legislative recognition, the group's executive director told the committee. But Michael Cook acknowledged that several USET members, who own some of the largest casinos in the country, gained federal status through acts of Congress.

The Lumbee bill bars the tribe from engaging in gaming, which is currently outlawed in Virginia. The prohibition sticks even if the state changes its laws in the future, said Skibine, who also serves as director of the BIA's Office of Indian Gaming Management.

Skibine suggested an amendment to the bill to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court in Carcieri v. Salazar. He said Congress should make clear that the tribe is eligible for the land-into-trust process.

The House is likely to pass the bill again. The tribe has supporters of both parties in the Senate but the bill didn't make it to the floor during the last Congress.

Committee Hearing:
Full Committee Legislative Hearing On H.R. 31 And H.R. 1385 (March 18, 2009)

Related Stories:
Obama administration backs Lumbee recognition (3/18)
Audio: House hearing on federal recognition bills (3/18)
Witness list for hearing on recognition bills (3/17)
House Resources hearing on federal recognition bills (3/16)
Road to Recognition: Rival Lumbee bill introduced (3/11)
Bill to recognize Virginia tribes introduced in House (3/10)
Road to Recognition: Lumbee Tribe seeks housing (3/10)
Road to Recognition: Lumbee Tribe continues push (3/9)
Indian inmates fight over Lumbee recognition (2/24)
Lumbee Tribe recognition bill introduced again (01/15)



Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Opposition grows to delisting of grizzly bears (7/1)
Lakota Country Times: Reservation counties rank as deadliest (7/1)
Harlan McKosato: Indian people survive despite mistreatment (7/1)
Marshall Matz: Fight for $380M in Keepseagle funds continues (7/1)
South Dakota board won't back name change for sacred peak (7/1)
Navajo Nation Council approves bill to share gaming revenue (7/1)
BIA adopts new policy regarding federal recognition process (6/30)
Supreme Court agrees to resolve another Indian law dispute (6/30)
Patrick Murphy: Star Trek's William Shatner visits Navajoland (6/30)
Yvette Roubideaux: Making progress at Indian Health Service (6/30)
Native Sun News: Wambli Ska group shares culture with youth (6/30)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux leader pushes zeolite mine (6/30)
Native Sun News: BLM to update plan for land near Bear Butte (6/30)
Alex Jacobs: Fake Indians damage the real Indian community (6/30)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Even toys carry harmful messages (6/30)
Ponca Tribe sends twelve youth to White House conference (6/30)
Lobbyists met at White House to discuss federal recognition (6/30)
Alaska Native man finally out on parole in 1997 homicide case (6/30)
Gyasi Ross gets nod for 'Marlon Brando' single off new release (6/30)
Washington governor supports repatriation of Kennewick Man (6/30)
Morongo Band interested in acquiring Colt gun manufacturer (6/30)
Gila River Indian Community files suit to protect sacred place (6/30)
Lac Du Flambeau Band man sentenced for abusing young girls (6/30)
Sault Tribe protected by sovereign immunity in casino dispute (6/30)
Pojoaque Pueblo at critical juncture with Class III gaming deal (6/30)
BIA releases scoping report for Coquille Tribe's Class II facility (6/30)
Local leaders talk Tohono O'odham Nation casino controversy (6/30)
Editorial: Extend Class III casino compact with Seminole Tribe (6/30)
Rep. McCollum vows support for Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (6/29)
BIA issues long-awaited update to federal recognition process (6/29)
Native Sun News: Tribal youth share traditions and technology (6/29)
Lakota Country Times: Treaty council slams mine at Pine Ridge (6/29)
Mark Trahant: Action plan needed for health in Indian Country (6/29)
Mary Annette Pember: Sharing stories from boarding schools (6/29)
Terese Marie Mailhot: Let Native people speak our own voices (6/29)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Race frauds are not new in Indian Country (6/29)
Bryan Terry: Honor Sequoyah with statue at Tennessee capitol (6/29)
Steven Newcomb: Indian law and policy based on domination (6/29)
National Congress of American Indians gathers in Minnesota (6/29)
Indian farmers rally over $380M in unspent Keepseagle funds (6/29)
Bill John Baker wins re-election as leader of Cherokee Nation (6/29)
Self-described Cherokee artist charged for misrepresentation (6/29)
Jemez Pueblo gets another shot in aboriginal territory dispute (6/29)
Alaska's largest tribe boycotts FedEx over ties to racist mascot (6/29)
Woman sentenced to prison for biting BIA officer in North Dakota (6/29)
Crow Creek Sioux man sentenced for assaults in domestic cases (6/29)
Spokane Tribe partners with Hard Rock for off-reservation casino (6/29)
Pechanga Band comes in first in USA Today's best casino survey (6/29)
Eastern Shoshone Tribe secures grant to update casino security (6/29)
Connecticut tribes welcome delay in commercial casino project (6/29)
Supreme Court considers petition in contract support cost case (6/26)
Congress clears bill to help Miami Nation with outdated charter (6/26)
Senate passes measure to transfer land to Native health group (6/26)
Senate appropriations bill shields tribes from BLM fracking rule (6/26)
Native Sun News: Project brings economic hope to Pine Ridge (6/26)
Lakota Country Times: Few answers about mine on Pine Ridge (6/26)
Michael Connor: Making informed decisions for land buy-back (6/26)
Land buy-back hits milestone with over $500M in purchases (6/26)
Sherman Alexie to release 'Thunder Boy' picture book in 2016 (6/26)
University to cover murals that depict lynching of Indian man (6/26)
North Dakota tribal group asserts authority over development (6/26)
Editorial: County stonewalling Chumash Tribe on development (6/26)
Little Traverse Bay Bands to spend $2.5M on new gaming site (6/26)
Seneca Nation honors boxing great Sully Huff at casino match (6/26)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.