Opinion | Federal Recognition

Editorial: Lumbee Tribe's road to recognition gets steeper

The flag of the Lumbee Tribe. Image from Alternative History

With Republicans in control of the next Congress, North Carolina newspaper doesn't think the Lumbee Tribe will have much of a shot at federal recognition:
The biggest loss will be the departure of U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Lumberton native who has been tireless in his efforts to get the tribe recognition. McIntyre has twice ushered recognition bills through the U.S. House, but both times the Senate failed to take up the legislation.

After congressional districts were gerrymandered following the takeover of the General Assembly by Republicans, McIntyre’s 7th District only included a slice of Robeson County, and although he won re-election in 2012, he skipped this time and will leave Congress early next year after serving nine terms.

A loss for the Lumbees that is looking equally as consequential was Sen. Kay Hagan’s defeat on Tuesday to Thom Tillis, who is now the speaker in the N.C. House. The tribe might have made a tactical error in going all-in with Hagan, doing so when the polls showed her with a slight lead over Tillis.

Here’s how Hagan herself put it during a campaign stop on Oct. 24 in Pembroke: “I know how important recognition is to the Lumbee people. But if my opponent gets in the Senate, it’s dead.”

Paul Brooks, the chairman of the Tribal Government, isn’t ready to shovel dirt on recognition, but he is aware of the task at hand, which is to find new allies in Congress.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Lumbee path to recognition grows steeper (The Robesonian 11/11)

Related Stories:
Supporter of Lumbee Tribe's recognition loses re-election bid (11/7)
Tribes in North Carolina back Democrat Sen. Hagan in tight race (10/30)
Republican blames Sen. Reid for holding Lumbee recognition bill (08/15)
Senate candidates support federal recognition for Lumbee Tribe (06/25)

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