Lumbee Tribe moves closer to federal recognition
The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina moved closer to federal recognition with the approval of S.1735 by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday.

Congress identified the Lumbees as Indians in 1965 but did not allow them to be treated like other tribes. The bill, which has the support of President Barack Obama, lifts the termination-era prohibition.

"It's a great step forward," Tribal Speaker Ricky Burnett told The Fayetteville Observer. "This is the farthest we've gotten in some time."

The last time Lumbee recognition reached the Senate floor was 1991, the paper said. This time, there don't appear to be any major opponents to the bill but Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the vice chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, said Congress should not be in the business of recognizing tribes.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the committee, agreed with that principle but said the Lumbees represent a special case due to way they have been treated by Congress.

The House passed H.R.31, its version of the bill, in June.

Get the Story:
Senate committee advances Lumbee bills (The Fayetteville Observer 10/23)

Committee Notice:
BUSINESS MEETING on pending committee issues (Thursday, October 15, 2009)

Lumbee Recognition Bills:
S.1735 | H.R.31 | H.R.839

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