Lumbee Tribe hopes to carry Obama boost to Senate
With backing from President Barack Obama, the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina hopes its federal recognition bill will finally pass in the 111th Congress.

A version of the bill cleared the House during the last Congressional session but it never made it to the Senate floor. Arlinda Locklear, an attorney and tribal member, believes Obama's support will convince Democrats to get on board.

“I think the Democrats in the House are pretty well supportive of this but there are Democrats in the Senate who may have wavered a little bit. My hope is that this is going to help us there," Locklear told The Fayetteville Observer after yesterday's hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee.

At the hearing, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, for the first time, backed legislative recognition for the tribe. “It was a historical day,” Chairman Jimmy Goins told the paper.

“We have waited 120 years for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to say we support the Lumbee tribe in the federal recognition effort. It brought people to tears, and I became very emotional. It wouldn’t have happened without the administration’s support and President Obama’s support," he added.

Get the Story:
Lumbees garner Interior Department support (The Fayetteville Observer 3/19)

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

Related Stories:
Obama supports recognition for Lumbee Tribe (3/19)
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)