The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina is once again looking to Congress to pass a federal recognition bill.
The tribe’s first documented request for recognition dates to 1885. After decades of lobbying, leaders and members thought they secured federal status with the passage of the Lumbee Act in 1956.
The tribe quickly discovered otherwise. The law recognized the Lumbees as “Indians” but denied them any benefits that would come with federal recognition.
“There are a lot of us who work in Indian affairs, and we are perceived by the rest of Indian country as basically second-class Indians because we’re not federally recognized,” attorney Locklear, a prominent attorney who was the first Native woman to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, told UNC News Bureau.
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