From left: Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-North Carolina), Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Lumbee Tribe Chairman Harvey Godwin, Jr., and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Virginia) in Washington, D.C. Photo: Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina

Lumbee Tribe secures White House meeting in bid for federal recognition

The leader of the Lumbee Tribe remains as optimistic as ever for federal recognition.

Chairman Harvey Godwin, Jr. met with key lawmakers in Washington, D.C., last week to push for passage of H.R.2352 and S.1047 in the 115th Congress. The effort was apparently fruitful -- he was able to secure a follow-up meeting with the White House, The Robesonian reported.

"I spoke this week with senior White House officials who want to also be engaged in this process. There are various options we will consider and pursue to seek a positive outcome for the Lumbee Tribe,” Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-North Carolina), the sponsor of H.R.2352, told the paper last week, hinting of further developments. Godwin is meeting with the White House on Wednesday, the paper said in an editorial.

In 1956, Congress passed a law that identified the Lumbees as "Indians." But, amid the backdrop of the termination era, during which the United States was ending its relationship with tribes across the nation, the law denied them the services and benefits associated with federal recognition.

H.R.2352 and S.1047 would change the situation by granting the Lumbees recognition. Similar bills have been enacted for at least two other tribes that were stuck in the same status.

But the Obama administration also opened up another avenue. In a December 2016 opinion, the Solicitor at the Department of the Interior said the tribe could seek recognition through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Read More on the Story:
Godwin upbeat after DC meeting with key congressmen (The Robesonian 7/29)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Latest push for Lumbee recognition has a different feel (The Robesonian 8/1)

Department of the Interior Solicitor Opinion:
Reconsideration of the Lumbee Act of 1956 (December 22, 2016)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Lumbee Tribe welcomes 'additional avenues' for seeking federal recognition (January 3, 2017)
Editorial: It's time for the Lumbee Tribe to gain full recognition (September 9, 2016)
Lumbee Tribe makes case for federal recognition at hearing in DC (September 8, 2016)