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Column: Lumbee Tribe should strive for casino and recognition

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: eastern cherokee, lumbee, north carolina, republicans

The flag of the Lumbee Tribe. Image from Alternative History

Phillip Stephens, the chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party, urges the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina to include a casino in its pitch for federal recognition:
A casino is a potential solution to an economic problem.

There were a lot of emotional and moral objections to liquor-by-the-drink legislation. Once it was separated into its potential economic impact, things changed. A casino has always been controversial in federal recognition. Maybe its naïve to think the same approach that worked for liquor legislation would fit tribal recognition.

Once emotional objections are stripped away, leaving only the economics of a million-dollar facility situated by a heavily traveled interstate, isn’t that a selling point rather than a deal breaker when you’re sitting in the poorest county in the state? Let’s be honest with the opportunity. Economically, a tribal casino would fuel the Southeast like Harrah’s casino fuels the west.

Access to a Robeson casino certainly trumps one alongside a winding road in the mountains. Why not leverage its positive potential? Be up front about it as an economic solution in a poor county.

The bottom line is the Cherokee casino reported $513 million in revenue during 2013. Local vendors received $28 million. More than 80 percent of their 3,000 employees were not even Cherokee members. Forget politics, those are hard numbers to ignore from Robeson’s perspective.

Get the Story:
Phillip Stephens: Recognition not a partisan issue (The Robesonian 1/7)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Lumbee Tribe's road to recognition gets steeper (11/12)

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