Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Lumbee

Lumbee

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Lumbee'
Start a new discussion about 'Lumbee'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Lumbee belong to a state recognized Native American tribe in North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. The Lumbee are concentrated in Robeson County and named for the primary waterway traversing the county. Originally called Drowning Creek by the European settlers, the part of the creek in Robeson County
Robeson County, North Carolina
Robeson County is a county in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2010 it had a population of 134,168. Since then, it has been one of the 10% of United States counties that were majority-minority; its combined population of American Indian, African American and Latino residents comprise over...

 became known in the early 19th century as the Lumber River
Lumber River
The Lumber River is a river in south-central North Carolina in the flat Coastal Plain. European settlers first called the river Drowning Creek, which still is the name of its headwater. The waterway known as the Lumber River extends downstream from the Scotland County-Hoke County border to the...

 because of the extensive lumber trade in the region. Former councilwoman Sharon Hunt is the current tribal chairman of the Lumbee.

Although classified as "mullato" by the United States Census Bureau from 1790 through 1870, the Lumbee were in 1885 recognized by the State of North Carolina as Croatan
Croatan
The Croatan were a small Native American group living in the coastal areas of what is now North Carolina. They may have been a branch of the larger Roanoke people or allied with them....

 Indians under the now discredited theory that the Lumbee were descended from the Lost Colony of Roanoke. On multiple occasions over the next 130 years, the Lumbee unsuccessfully sought federal recognition under the Croatan and other claimed Indian identities. In 1952, the Lumbee adopted a new identity, choosing the "Lumbee" name in a referendum conducted by the Robeson County Commissioners.

The ethnic origin of the Lumbee is controversial. Most Lumbee now claim to be descendants of the Cheraw
Cheraw (tribe)
The Cheraw , were a tribe of Siouan-speaking Amerindians first encountered by Hernando De Soto in 1540. The name they called themselves is lost to history but the Cherokee called them Ani-suwa'ii and the Catawba Sara...

 and related Siouan-speaking tribes originally inhabiting part of the coastal regions of the state of North Carolina. However, a significant minority of Robeson County residents claim to be descendants of the Iroquoian-speaking Tuscarora. Indian tribes opposing the Lumbee bids for federal recognition assert the Lumbees are principally descended from African slaves who escaped into the woods and intermarried with European frontier settlers and perhaps a few Indian stragglers.

In 1956, the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed H.R.
H.R.
H.R. is the stage name of Paul D. Hudson, the lead singer of the hardcore punk band Bad Brains. His vocals can be quite diverse, ranging from a rapid-fire nasal whine, to feral growling and screeches, to smooth near-crooning or staccato reggae rhymes...

 4656, known as the Lumbee Act, which recognized the Lumbee as Native American people, but specifically withheld recognition as a "tribe." The language effectively prevents the Lumbee from receiving the federal services ordinarily provided to federally recognized tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 or even seeking tribal status through administrative means. As the only Indians in this circumstance, the Lumbee have since sought full federal recognition through the congressional legislation.

Congressional legislation extending federal recognition to the Lumbee is opposed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and most federally recognized tribes. The federally recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians , is a federally recognized Native American tribe in the United States of America, who are descended from Cherokee who remained in the Eastern United States while others moved, or were forced to relocate, to the west in the 19th century. The history of the...

, the only recognized tribe in North Carolina, has consistently opposed Lumbee efforts to gain federal recognition.

The inhabitants of Robeson County who identify themselves as Tuscarora and who have organized together as the Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina, oppose use of the Lumbee name as "fictitious." The Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina is itself not recognized as an Indian tribe by either federal or state government.

Early References


Early English colonists exploring the Robeson County area did not recognize the ancestors of the Lumbee as Indians. When North Carolina Governor Matthew Rowan
Matthew Rowan
Matthew Rowan was the acting colonial governor of North Carolina in 1753 and 1754, following the death of governor Nathaniel Rice. In 1753, the area that had previously been the northern part of Anson County was formed into Rowan County, named in his honour....

 dispatched surveying parties in 1753 to count Indians in the state, the surveyors returning from Bladen County (from which Robeson County was subsequently created) reported there were "no Indians in the county."

Colonial tax records from 1768 to 1770 identified Thomas Britt as the only Indian in Bladen County. Britt is not a surname traditionally associated with Lumbee families. Inhabitants of Bladen County with surnames that have been traditionally associated with Lumbee families were classified as "Mullato
Mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

," or non-White, or simply Other in the tax records.

A colonial proclamation in 1773 listed the names of Robeson County inhabitants who took part in a "Mob Railously Assembled together," apparently defying the efforts of colonial officials to collect taxes. The proclamation declared the "Above list of Rogus" [sic], which included many names of those since defined as traditionally Lumbee/Tuscarora families, "is all Free Negors [sic, Negroes] and Mullatus [mulattoes] living upon the Kings Land." Later a colonial military survey described, "50 families a mixt crew a lawless People possess the Lands without Patent or paying quit Rents."

In the first federal census of 1790
United States Census, 1790
The United States Census of 1790 was the first census conducted in the United States. It recorded the population of the United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution and applicable laws...

, the ancestors of the Lumbee were among those enumerated as "free persons of color
Free people of color
A free person of color in the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, is a person of full or partial African descent who was not enslaved...

", a category used to describe all free non-whites (including mixed-race European-Africans and mixed-race European-Indians). In subsequent censuses, these people's names appeared under the category "all other free persons" or "Mulatto."

In 1840, thirty-six white Robeson County residents signed a petition complaining that Robeson County had been "cursed" by the presence of what they described as being a "free colored" population that migrated originally from the districts near the Roanoke
Roanoke River
The Roanoke River is a river in southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina in the United States, 410 mi long. A major river of the southeastern United States, it drains a largely rural area of the coastal plain from the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains southeast across the Piedmont...

 and Neuse
Neuse River
The Neuse River is a river rising in the Piedmont of North Carolina and emptying into Pamlico Sound below New Bern. Its total length is approximately , making it the longest river entirely contained in North Carolina. The Trent River joins it at New Bern. Its drainage basin, measuring in area,...

 rivers.

The first recorded reference to any members of the "questioned" population as being Indian dates to 1867, during Reconstruction
Reconstruction
In the history of the United States, the term "Reconstruction Era" has two senses: the first covers the entire nation in the period 1865–1877 following the Civil War; the second one, used in this article, covers the transformation of the Southern United States from 1863 to 1877, with the...

. Lieutenant Birney of the Freedman's Bureau, a federal agency created to deal with the newly emancipated slaves, was placed in charge of a multiple murder investigation focused on the outlawed Lowrie gang. Two suspects wrote a letter intended to cloud the Bureau's jurisdiction over the Lowries, referring to them as follows: "They are said to be descended from the Tuscarora
Tuscarora
-Native American:*Tuscarora people**Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation *Tuscarora language, an Iroquoian language of the Tuscarora people*Tuscarora War, fought in North Carolina during the autumn of 1711 until 11 February 1715-Places:...

 Indians. They have always claimed to be Indian & disdained the idea that they are in any way connected with the African race."

In 1872, George Alfred Townsend published The Swamp Outlaws, a book about the Lowrie Gang. Townsend expounds on the Indian theory of origin, describing Henry Berry Lowrie, the leader of the gang, as being of mixed Tuscarora and white blood and then went on to say of Pop Oxendine, "Like the rest, he had the Tuscarora Indian blood in him"

Name and recognition



The "Lumbee" name was self-selected in the early 1950s. It is derived from the name of the primary waterway traversing Robeson County. Originally known as Drowning Creek, the Robeson County portion became known as the Lumber River
Lumber River
The Lumber River is a river in south-central North Carolina in the flat Coastal Plain. European settlers first called the river Drowning Creek, which still is the name of its headwater. The waterway known as the Lumber River extends downstream from the Scotland County-Hoke County border to the...

 in the 18th century owing to the extensive lumber trade in the region.

When the Lumbee officially identified as Indians in the 1880s, they called themselves "Croatan Indians" after the now discredited "Lost Colony theory" advanced by the Democratic politician Hamilton McMillan. In 1885, McMillan sponsored legislation in the North Carolina General Assembly officially recognizing the Lumbee as "Croatan Indians of Robeson County" and permitting them to open "Croatan" schools. In the otherwise segregated system, this decision enabled the Lumbee to have schools for their children separate from those for freedmen's children, where they would otherwise be required to attend. The people petitioned to the federal government for recognition as "Croatan" Indians. These petitions were uniformly rejected, in part because there was no historically existing "Croatan" tribe, only a coastal village by that name. The village was located miles away from Robeson County with no apparent connection to the inhabitants of the county.

In 1911, at the request of the Croatans, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation changing the name of the state-recognized tribe to "Indians of Robeson County." Tribal leaders then seized upon the idea of claiming "Cherokee" heritage. In 1913, over the objections of the existing recognized Cherokee tribes, North Carolina legislators added "Cherokee" to the name of the Robeson County tribe, renaming them "Cherokee Indians of Robeson County." This change was followed by a new round of petitions seeking federal recognition as "Cherokee" Indians. All were denied.

In 1924, the future Lumbee petitioned for federal recognition as "Siouan" Indians. This petition, was rejected, in part because "Siouan" is a language, not a tribe. In 1934, the future Lumbee revived their claim to Cherokee identity, joining the National Congress of American Indians
National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians is a American Indian and Alaska Native indigenous rights organization. It was founded in 1944 in response to termination and assimilation policies that the U.S. government forced upon the tribal governments in contradiction of their treaty rights and...

 under the name, "Cherokee Indians of Robeson County."

In 1952, under the leadership of D.F. Lowrie, the tribe voted to adopt the name "Lumbee," derived from their historic location along the Lumber River. The North Carolina legislature recognized the name change in 1953. The Lumbee petitioned for recognition as Indians, which was approved by the federal government in 1956, with the agreement that the tribe was not entitled to benefits normally given to federally recognized Indian tribes. Since the late twentieth century, the Lumbee have sought the full recognition and benefits available to other federally recognized tribes. In addition, the Lumbee tribal council has passed a resolution asking the North Carolina General Assembly to change the name of the Lumber River to the "Lumbee River."

Lost Colony of Roanoke


In 1885, the politician Hamilton McMillan proposed the theory that the Lumbee were the descendants of England's "Lost Colony of Roanoke", who intermarried with what he described as the "Croatan" Indians. The Roanoke colony
Roanoke Colony
The Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in Dare County, present-day North Carolina, United States was a late 16th-century attempt to establish a permanent English settlement in what later became the Virginia Colony. The enterprise was financed and organized by Sir Walter Raleigh and carried out by...

 disappeared during a difficult winter, its survivors reportedly leaving behind the word "Croatoan" carved into a tree. When other Englishmen found the carving two years later, they recognized "Croatoan" as a nearby village of some friendly Indians. They speculated that the Roanoke colonists sought refuge with the Croatoan villagers, but weather prevented the English from searching for any Roanoke survivors. The scholarly consensus, however, is that the colonists died of starvation on the island. Mainstream historians and anthropologists have uniformly rejected the McMillan "Lost Colony" theory of origins, and the Lumbees themselves have largely discarded the theory.

The state legislature accepted McMillan's proposal, passing a bill in 1885 recognizing the formerly Mullato inhabitants of Robeson County as the "Croatan Indians of Robeson County." Reconstruction era. It was a time when the Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 were seeking to regain political power in North Carolina. They had lost the previous election to an interracial Populist-Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 coalition in which the newly emancipated slaves joined forces with the Robeson County mullatos. Some scholars argue that McMillan fabricated the Croatan origin story to split the votes of the Mullatos and newly emancipatd slaves. McMillan's success in gaining an Indian classification for these people gave them a distinct social status separate from the newly emancipated slaves and their descendants. It also allowed for a system of Indian schools in Robeson County that permitted the newly christened "Croaton" children to be educated separately from the children of emancipated slaves, but not with white children.

In 1709 Lawson had written of Algonquian
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

-speaking Indians near Hatteras: "These tell us that several of their ancestors were white people, and could talk in a book, as we do; the truth of which is confirmed by Grey eyes being found frequently amongst these Indians, and no others." Lewis Barton, a 20th-century local historian who published a book on the Lumbee in 1967, contends records of the disappearance of the English colony are not inconsistent with accounts in the 1730s of Native-European mixed-bloods in Robeson County. Barton explained the apparent inconsistency of colonists' having moved 50 miles (80.5 km) "into the main" about 1587-88, and the Hatteras Indians seen by Lawson, by saying there was travel between the coast and the Robeson County site, 100 miles (160.9 km) from the coast. Barton said very old members of the tribe told him that, before the age of automobiles, there was annual horse-and-wagon traffic to the coast each fall to catch fish and gather salt. This practice is greatly diminished today, but it is still usual for members to make a week's camping stay on the coast, catching and preserving fish. The general consensus of older tradition continued to be that the people were descended from the Tuscarora, with perhaps some families descending from other tribes like the Hatteras
Hatteras
Hatteras may refer to:*The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, the novel by Jules Verne*Hatteras Networks, a North Carolina-based telecommunications equipment providerPlaces:* Hatteras, North Carolina...

, Mattamuskeet, and Saponi
Saponi
Saponi is one of the eastern Siouan-language tribes, related to the Tutelo, Occaneechi, Monacan, Manahoac and other eastern Siouan peoples. Its ancestral homeland was in North Carolina and Virginia. The tribe was long believed extinct, as its members migrated north to merge with other tribes...

.

Cherokee descent


In his unpublished 1934 master's thesis, Clifton Oxendine held that the Lumbee descend from Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

. Relying on oral traditions among some Lumbee, Oxendine claimed that the Lumbee were the descendants of Cherokee warriors who fought with the British under Colonel John Barnwell
John Barnwell
John Barnwell is an English former football player and manager. He was until recently the chief executive of the League Managers Association....

 of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 against the Tuscarora
Tuscarora
-Native American:*Tuscarora people**Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation *Tuscarora language, an Iroquoian language of the Tuscarora people*Tuscarora War, fought in North Carolina during the autumn of 1711 until 11 February 1715-Places:...

 in the campaign of 1711-13. He contended that the Cherokee warriors settled in the swamps of Robeson County when the campaign ended, along with their Tuscarora captives. These individuals, he said, were the ancestors of the Lumbee.

But, no Cherokee were listed in the record of Barnwell's company. . Other than stories told by some Lumbee, there is no documentation of Oxendine's claims. No other scholars support the Oxendine theory. The federally recognized Cherokee Nation rejects the connection to the Lumbee. The Lumbee officially abandoned the theory of Cherokee origin in the 1940s.

Siouan descent


The 1915 McPherson Report said in reference to the Cheraw
Cheraw
-Peoples:* Cheraw , a tribe of Siouan-speakng Amerindians who historically lived in Virginia and North Carolina, in the future southeastern United States...

 (quoting the Handbook of American Indians, 1906): “Their numbers in 1715, according to Rivers, was 510, but this estimate probably included the Keyauwee. Being still subject to attack by the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

, they finally—between 1726 and 1739—became incorporated with the Catawba
Catawba (tribe)
The Catawba are a federally recognized tribe of Native Americans, known as the Catawba Indian Nation. They live in the Southeast United States, along the border between North and South Carolina near the city of Rock Hill...

……They are mentioned as with the Catawba but speaking their own distinct dialect as late as 1743 (Adair). The last notice of them in 1768, when their remnant, reduced by war and disease to 50 or 60, were still living with the Catawba.”

The McPherson Report also notes (quoting Indians of North Carolina, p. 216): “In 1738 smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 raged in South Carolina and worked great destruction, not only among the whites, but also among the Catawba and smaller tribes. In 1759 it appeared again, and this time destroyed nearly half the tribe.” This report was the first related to Robeson County Indians in which the Cheraw were mentioned. Scholars did not suggest there was any significant, if any, influence from the Cheraw, or any other smaller Siouan-speaking tribes, in the Robeson County area.

Swanton continued to do research on Native Americans of the Southeast. In 1933, he published his assertion (where?) that the Keyauwee and Cheraw of the Carolina Piedmont
Piedmont (United States)
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division...

 were most likely the primary ancestors of the people known from 1885 to 1912 as Croatan Indians. He also believed that there were likely remnant descendants from the Waccamaw
Waccamaw
The Waccamaw Indians of South Carolina, distinct from the Waccamaw Siouan Indians of North Carolina, are the first state-recognized tribe of Native Americans in South Carolina...

 of the lower Cape Fear
Cape Fear (region)
Cape Fear is a coastal plain and tidewater region of North Carolina centered about the city of Wilmington. The region takes its name from the adjacent Cape Fear headland, as does the Cape Fear River which flows through the region and empties into the Atlantic Ocean near the cape...

 region near Wilmington
Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington is a port city in and is the county seat of New Hanover County, North Carolina, United States. The population is 106,476 according to the 2010 Census, making it the eighth most populous city in the state of North Carolina...

, and the Woccon of the central coastal region of North Carolina and the Bear River, all probably of Siouan linguistic stock. In the 21st century, these tribes are all extinct except for a small band of Waccamaw, who live on the shores of Lake Waccamaw in the heart of their old country.

Swanton traced the migration of tribes in the East. In addition to the Keyauwee, Cheraw, Bear River, Waccamaw, and Woccon already mentioned, the Eno and Waxhaw
Waxhaw Tribe
The Waxhaw Tribe was a tribe native to what are now the counties of Lancaster, in South Carolina; and Union and Mecklenburg in North Carolina, around the area of Charlotte...

 migrated from Piedmont, South Carolina
Piedmont, South Carolina
Piedmont is a census-designated place along the Saluda River in Anderson and Greenville counties in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 4,684 at the 2000 census....

 northeast to the north-central part of North Carolina, then back south again to a point on the Pee Dee River
Pee Dee River
The Pee Dee River, also known as the Great Pee Dee River, is a river in North Carolina and South Carolina. It originates in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, where its upper course above the mouth of the Uwharrie River is known as the Yadkin River. It is extensively dammed for flood...

 just south of the border of the two Carolinas. Swanton said that all of them, with exception to the Keyauwee, were mentioned as travelling west to join the Catawba; Swanton argued that the Keyauwee were probably the most influential contributor to the self-identified Indian population of Robeson County.

Tuscarora descent


A number of Robeson County residents claim descent from the Tuscarora
Tuscarora (tribe)
The Tuscarora are a Native American people of the Iroquoian-language family, with members in New York, Canada, and North Carolina...

 Indians. The Iroquoian-speaking North Carolina tribe suffered massive defeat at the hands of British colonists and their Indian allies in 1713. Most of the surviving Tuscarora fled their homes in northeastern North Carolina, migrating north to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, where they joined the Iroquois League
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 as its sixth nation by 1722. Tuscarora tribal leaders in New York determined that the emigration was complete by 1802, declaring that any Tuscarora who had failed to migrate to New York by that time would no longer be considered members of the tribe.

Because of this historic determination by the tribal council, the Lumbee claim to Tuscarora identity is contested by the federally recognized Tuscarora Nation of New York. The recognized Tuscarora tribe asserts that the Tuscarora who remained behind are no longer recognized as members. Also, their descendants could not claim to have continuity with the tribe and its traditions, which is required for federal recognition as a tribe.

In the 1920s, rural Robeson County inhabitants made contact with individual members of the Mohawk Nation
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

, who are part of the Iroquois Confederacy, to which the Tuscarora were admitted to in 1722. They formed the Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina, which is recognized by neither the United States government nor the federally recognized Tuscarora Nation of New York.

Proponents of the Tuscarora hypothesis argue that the migration trail of Lumbee ancestors from coastal southern Virginia to Robeson County passed through the territory in which the Tuscarora had lived, making intermarriage with the Tuscarora a possibility. But, such ancestry is not the same as the tribe having maintained cultural continuity of Tuscarora traditions. However, the possibility of such intermarriage does not mean that it occurred, and in any event, there was no attempt to maintain a tribal culture. Proponents of the Tuscarora hypothesis note 19th-century references to members of the outlaw Henry Berry Lowrie gang of the Reconstruction era as of partial Tuscarora descent. However, these claims were advanced in an effort to cloud the jurisdiction of the Freedman's Bureau, which was investigating homicides allegedly committed by the Lowrie gang.

Robeson County inhabitants claiming Tuscarora identity strongly object to the Lumbee name and to the Cheraw theory of ancestry.

Scholarly research


In the early decades of the 20th century, various Department of Interior representatives, described the Lumbee as having Native American origin, and assigned them variously to one tribe or another. In 1936, Carl Seltzer, a physical anthropologist engaged by the federal Department of the Interior
United States Department of the Interior
The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U.S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native...

, conducted an anthropometric
Anthropometry
Anthropometry refers to the measurement of the human individual...

 study of several hundred self-identified Indian individuals in Robeson County. He concluded the majority were Indian. But, researchers no longer consider such tests as valid determinants of ethnicity, which is believed to be more of a cultural construct.

18th century


In 1754, a surveying party reported that Anson County
Anson County, North Carolina
-See also:*National Register of Historic Places listings in Anson County, North Carolina-External links:*...

 was "a frontier to the Indians." Bladen County abutted Anson County
Anson County, North Carolina
-See also:*National Register of Historic Places listings in Anson County, North Carolina-External links:*...

 which at that time extended west into Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 territory. The border between then Bladen and Anson counties was the present day Lumbee River, where present day Robeson County County and Scotland County meet. The same report also claimed that no Indians lived in Bladen County. Land patents and deeds filed with the colonial administrations of Virginia, North and South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 during this period show that individuals claimed as Lumbee ancestors were migrating into southern North Carolina along the typical routes of colonial migration from Virginia and obtaining land deeds in the same manner as any other migrants. In the first federal census of 1790, the ancestors of the Lumbee/Tuscarora were enumerated as Free Persons of Color. In 1800 and 1810 they were counted in "all other free persons."

In 1885, Hamilton McMillan wrote that Lumbee/Tuscarora ancestor James Lowrie received sizeable land grants early in the century and by 1738 possessed combined estates of more than two thousand acres (8 km²). Dial and Eliades claimed that another Lumbee/Tuscarora ancestor John Brooks established title to over one thousand acres (4 km²) in 1735, and Robert Lowrie gained possession of almost seven hundred acres (2.8 km²). But, a state archivist
Archivist
An archivist is a professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and provides access to information determined to have long-term value. The information maintained by an archivist can be any form of media...

 has noted that no land grants were issued during these years in North Carolina. The first land grants to documented individuals claimed as Lumbee/Tuscarora ancestors did not take place until more than a decade later, in the 1750s. The Lumbee petition for federal recognition did not use material from McMillan's claims.

Land records show that beginning in the second half of the 18th century, persons since identified as ancestral Lumbee/Tuscarora took titles to land described in relation to Drowning Creek and prominent swamps such as Ashpole, Long, and Back Swamp. According to James Campisi, the anthropologist hired by the Lumbee tribe, this area "is located in the heart of the so-called old field of the Cheraw
Cheraw (tribe)
The Cheraw , were a tribe of Siouan-speaking Amerindians first encountered by Hernando De Soto in 1540. The name they called themselves is lost to history but the Cherokee called them Ani-suwa'ii and the Catawba Sara...

 documented in land records between 1737 and 1739."

But, the Lumbee petition for recognition based on Siouan connection, prepared by Lumbee River Legal Services in the 1980s, shows that the Cheraw Old Fields, sold to a Thomas Grooms in the year 1739, were located in South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

, near the current town of Cheraw
Cheraw, South Carolina
Cheraw is a town on the Pee Dee River in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 5,524 at the 2000 census and center of an urban cluster with a total population of 9,069. It has been nicknamed "The Prettiest Town in Dixie." The harbor tub USS Cheraw was named in the...

. This was more than 60 miles (100 km) from Pembroke.

Pension records for veterans of the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 listed men with surnames later associated with Lumbee/Tuscarora families, such as Samuel Bell, Jacob Locklear, John Brooks, Berry Hunt, Thomas Jacobs, Thomas Cummings, and Michael Revels. In 1790, ancestral Lumbee such as Barnes, Bell, Braveboy (Brayboy), Brooks, Bullard, Chavers (Chavis), Cumbo, Hammonds, Hunt, Jacobs, Lockileer (Locklear), Lowrie (Lowry/Lowery), Oxendine, Revils (Revels), Strickland, and Wilkins were listed as inhabitants of the Fayetteville District; they were enumerated as "Free Persons of Color" in the first federal census. Indians living off reservations were not designated separately on the census until 1870.

Antebellum


The year 1835 proved to be critical for all free people of color in North Carolina. Following Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion of 1831, the state legislature passed amendments to its original 1776 constitution; it abolished suffrage
Suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

 for "free people of color." This was one of a series of laws passed from 1826 to the 1850s that historian John Hope Franklin characterized as the "Free Negro Code," erecting restrictions on that class. Free people of color were stripped of various political and civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 which they had enjoyed for almost two generations. They could no longer vote, bear arms
Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two Second...

 without a license, serve on juries, or serve in the state militia.

In 1853, the North Carolina Supreme Court
North Carolina Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of North Carolina is the state's highest appellate court. Until the creation of the North Carolina Court of Appeals in the 1960s, it was the state's only appellate court. The Supreme Court consists of six associate justices and one chief justice, although the number of justices...

 upheld the constitutionality of the state's restrictions on free people of color's bearing arms without a license. Noel Locklear, in State v. Locklear, was convicted for the illegal possession of firearms. In 1857, William Chavers from Robeson County, considered a Lumbee/Tuscarora ancestor because of his surname, was arrested and charged as a "free person of color" for carrying a shotgun. Chavers, like Locklear, was convicted. Chavers promptly appealed, arguing that the law restricted only "free Negroes," not "persons of color from Indian blood." The appeals court reversed the lower court, finding that "free persons of color may be, then, for all we can see, persons colored by Indian blood".

The twentieth-century anthropologist Gerald Sider published accounts of "tied mule" incidents repeated to him in the 1960s, which supposedly had caused losses of land for Lumbee ancestors during the 19th century. While Robeson County land records show an appreciable loss of Lumbee ancestors' title to land during the 19th century, the documented causes are failure to pay taxes and other common reasons. Not one "tied mule incident" has yet been discovered in Robeson County records.

Civil War


As the war progressed and the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 began to experience increasing labor shortages, it began to conscript labor. A yellow fever
Yellow fever
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

 epidemic in 1862-63 killed many slaves' working on the construction of Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher was a Confederate fort during the American Civil War. It protected the vital trading routes of the port at Wilmington, North Carolina, from 1861 until its capture by the Union in 1865....

 near Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington is a port city in and is the county seat of New Hanover County, North Carolina, United States. The population is 106,476 according to the 2010 Census, making it the eighth most populous city in the state of North Carolina...

, then considered to be the "Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 of the South." North Carolina's slave owners resisted sending more slaves to Fort Fisher. Robeson County, along with most eastern North Carolina counties, began to conscript young free men of color. Documentation of conscription among the free people of color in Robeson County is difficult to locate. The practice may have been limited to a few specific areas of the county.

Several dozen Lumbee/Tuscarora ancestors served in regular units in the Confederate army; they are documented as drawing Confederate pensions for their service. Others tried to avoid coerced labor by hiding in the swamps. During that period, some men from Robeson County operated as guerrillas
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 for the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

, sabotaging the efforts of the Confederacy, and seeking retribution against their Confederate neighbors.

Lowrie Gang



When the Confederate Home Guard began conscripting the Lumbee as laborers for the Confederacy, Henry Berry Lowrie
Henry Berry Lowrie
Henry Berry Lowrie or "Lowry" led an outlaw gang in North Carolina during and after the American Civil War. He is sometimes viewed as a Robin Hood type figure, especially by the Lumbee and Tuscarora people, who consider him one of their tribe and a pioneer in the fight for their civil rights and...

 (also spelled Lowry) organized a gang and took to the nearby swamps. Most of the gang members were related, including two of Lowrie's brothers, six cousins (two of whom were also his brothers-in-law), the brother-in-law of two of his cousins, in addition to a few not related through kinship. The Lowries claimed to be Tuscarora Indians, although the Lowrie gang included escaped slaves.

The gang committed two murders during the Civil War and were suspected in several thefts and robberies. After an interrogation and informal trial, Robeson County's Home Guard
Confederate Home Guard
The Confederate Home Guard was a somewhat loosely organized militia that was under the direction and authority of the Confederate States of America, working in coordination with the Confederate Army, and was tasked with both the defense of the Confederate home front during the American Civil War,...

 executed Henry Berry Lowrie's father and brother. This was in the period of the Union General William T. Sherman's army entering Robeson County. Shortly after, Henry Lowrie and his band stole rifles and killed the county sheriff and several of the men responsible for his family losses. They aided Sherman's advance by skirmishing with the retreating Confederate Army and Home Guard. The insurrection of the Lowrie gang against the white establishment in Robeson County was a source of inspiration and pride to the Lumbee, who had suffered persecution by the whites, first under North Carolina's antebellum Free Negro Code and later at the hands of the Confederate Home Guard. Henry Berry Lowrie became a culture hero
Culture hero
A culture hero is a mythological hero specific to some group who changes the world through invention or discovery...

 to the Lumbee.

In 1872, during the Reconstruction era, George Alfred Townsend
George Alfred Townsend
George Alfred Townsend , was a noted war correspondent during the American Civil War, and a later novelist. Townsend wrote under the pen name "Gath", which was derived by adding an "H" to his initials, and inspired by the biblical passage II Samuel 1:20, "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the...

 published The Swamp Outlaws, a history of the Lowrie Gang. Townsend described Henry Berry Lowrie as being of mixed Tuscarora
Tuscarora
-Native American:*Tuscarora people**Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation *Tuscarora language, an Iroquoian language of the Tuscarora people*Tuscarora War, fought in North Carolina during the autumn of 1711 until 11 February 1715-Places:...

, mulatto
Mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

, and European ancestry: "The color of his skin is of a whitish yellow sort, with an admixture of copper—such a skin as, for the nature of its components, is in color indescribable, there being no negro blood in it except that of a far remote generation of mulatto, and the Indian still apparent." Townsend wrote of Pop Oxendine, "Like the rest, he had the Tuscarora Indian blood in him...If I should describe the man by the words nearest my idea I should call him an Indian gypsy."

Post-Reconstruction: education and state recognition


In 1868 the legislature elected under Reconstruction created a new constitution, which established a public education system in North Carolina. The following year, the state legislature approved a measure that required segregated
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

, separate schools for whites and blacks (in the binary society, traditionally free people of color, or mixed race, were mostly included in the latter category). Many Lumbee ancestors complied with the legislation and sent their children to Freedmen's Bureau schools. Other traditionally free people of color refused to enroll their children in schools for freed slaves. In Robeson County, this impasse ended when, in 1885, North Carolina formally recognized the historically free people of color in Robeson County as "Croatan Indians", through the effort of Democratic representative Harold MacMillan. He suggested that the free people of color were survivors of England's "Lost Colony
Roanoke Island
Roanoke Island is an island in Dare County near the coast of North Carolina, United States. It was named after the historical Roanoke Carolina Algonquian people who inhabited the area in the 16th century at the time of English exploration....

" at Roanoke Island who had intermarried with the Hatteras
Hatteras
Hatteras may refer to:*The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, the novel by Jules Verne*Hatteras Networks, a North Carolina-based telecommunications equipment providerPlaces:* Hatteras, North Carolina...

, an Algonquian
Algonquian peoples
The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds. Today hundreds of thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples...

 people. MacMillan was working to distinguish the mixed-race people from the freedmen, and to recruit them as Democratic voters. That same year, the North Carolina General Assembly
North Carolina General Assembly
The North Carolina General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of North Carolina. The General Assembly drafts and legislates the state laws of North Carolina, also known as the General Statutes...

 approved legislation that authorized a public school system for Indians.

Within the year, each Croatan Indian settlement in the county established a school "blood committee" that determined students' racial eligibility. In 1887, tribal members petitioned the state legislature to request establishment of a normal school
Normal school
A normal school is a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name...

 to train Indian teachers for the county's tribal schools. North Carolina granted permission. Tribal members raised the requisite funds, along with some state assistance that proved inadequate. Several tribal leaders donated money and privately held land for schools. In 1899, North Carolina representatives introduced the first bill in Congress to appropriate funds to educate the Indian children of Robeson County. Another bill was introduced a decade later, and yet another in 1911. In 1913, the House of Representatives Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on S.3258 in which the Senate sponsor of the bill reviewed the history of the Lumbee and concluded that they had "maintained their race integrity and their tribal characteristics."

Robeson County's Indian Normal School evolved into Pembroke State University and later still, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke , also known as UNC Pembroke, is a public, co-educational, historically American Indian liberal arts university in the town of Pembroke in Robeson County, North Carolina....

. By the 19th-century's end, the Indians of Robeson County established schools in eleven of their principal settlements.

Ku Klux Klan conflict


During the 1950s, the Lumbee came into conflict with the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

, a white supremacist organization. Klan Wizard
Grand Wizard
Grand Wizard was the title given to the leader of the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan which existed from 1866 to 1871.In 1915, the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was created, initially as a fraternal organization. The highest-ranking leader of the latter organization was the Imperial Wizard. National...

 James W. "Catfish" Cole began a campaign of harassment against the Lumbee, claiming they were half-breed
Half-breed
Half-breed is an historic term used to describe anyone who is mixed Native American and white European parentage...

s who had overstepped their place in the segregated
Racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation or hypersegregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines...

 Jim Crow
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

 South. Klansmen burned a cross on the lawn of a Lumbee woman who was dating a white man. Cole planned a large Klan rally on January 18, 1958, near the town of Maxton
Maxton, North Carolina
Maxton is a town in Robeson County and Scotland County Counties, North Carolina, in the United States. The population was 2,551 at the time of the 2000 U.S. Census.-History:...

. The Lumbee decided to confront the Klan.

The "Battle of Hayes Pond
Battle of Hayes Pond
The Battle of Hayes Pond refers to an armed confrontation between the Ku Klux Klan and Lumbee men near Maxton, North Carolina, on the night of January 18, 1958...

", or "the Klan Rout," made national news. Some 350-500 armed Lumbee overwhelmed and scattered the 50-100 Klansmen who showed up for the rally. The Lumbee encircled the Klansmen and confronted them. They opened gunfire, and four Klansmen were wounded in the first volley, none seriously; the remaining Klansmen panicked and fled. The Lumbee celebrated the victory by burning Klan regalia and dancing around the flames.. The Battle of Hayes Pond, which marked the end of KKK activity in Robeson County, is celebrated as a Lumbee holiday.

Attempts to gain federal recognition


When the Indians petitioned Congress for educational assistance, their request was sent to the House Committee on Indian Affairs. It took two years for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, T.J. Morgan, to respond to the Croatan Indians of Robeson County, telling them that, "so long as the immediate wards of the Government are so insufficiently provided for, I do not see how I can consistently render any assistance to the Croatans or any other civilized tribes." [sic, in contrast to Indians on reservations.]

By the first decade of the 20th century, congressional legislation was introduced to change the Croatan name and to establish "a normal school for the Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina." Charles F. Pierce, Supervisor of Indian Schools, investigated the tribe's congressional petition, reporting favorably that "a large majority [were] at least three-fourths Indian" as well as law abiding, industrious, and "crazy on the subject of education." The normal school would allow the training of teachers. Pierce also believed that federal educational assistance would be beneficial. But, he opposed such legislation since, in his words, "[a]t the present time it is the avowed policy of the government to require states having an Indian population to assume the burden and responsibility for their education, so far as is possible."

In 1915, the report of Special Indian Agent O.M. McPherson of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was sent to the North Carolina legislature by the US Senate. North Carolina had requested assistance in gaining information as to the status of Indians of Robeson County. The legislature was chiefly reviewing material and issues related to the state's treatment of the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, who had been mostly forced out of the state under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. McPherson found that the Indians of Robeson County, since 1885 called Croatan Indians, had developed an extensive system of schools and a political organization to represent their interests. While he, like Pierce before him, noted that Robeson's Indians were eligible to attend federal Indian schools, he doubted that these schools could meet their needs. Despite McPherson's recommendations, Congress decided not to act on the matter.

A committee report of 1932 acknowledged that the federal bill of 1913 was intended to extend federal recognition on the same terms as the amended state law. The chairman of the House committee abrogated assumption of direct educational responsibility to the Indians of Robeson County by the federal government. He believed they were already eligible to attend Indian boarding schools. Thus, the federal government was meeting its responsibility to the Indians of Robeson County through Indian boarding schools, such as Carlisle Indian Industrial School
Carlisle Indian Industrial School
Carlisle Indian Industrial School was an Indian boarding school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1879 at Carlisle, Pennsylvania by Captain Richard Henry Pratt, the school was the first off-reservation boarding school, and it became a model for Indian boarding schools in other locations...

.

Indian New Deal


With passage of the Indian Reorganization Act
Indian Reorganization Act
The Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 the Indian New Deal, was U.S. federal legislation that secured certain rights to Native Americans, including Alaska Natives...

 in 1934, the Indians of Robeson County redoubled their efforts for access to better education and federal recognition. The Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 (BIA) sent John R. Swanton
John R. Swanton
John Reed Swanton was an American anthropologist and linguist who worked with Native American peoples throughout the United States. Swanton achieved recognition in the fields of ethnology and ethnohistory...

, an anthropologist from the Bureau of American Ethnology
Bureau of American Ethnology
The Bureau of American Ethnology was established in 1879 by an act of Congress for the purpose of transferring archives, records and materials relating to the Indians of North America from the Interior Department to the Smithsonian Institution...

, and Indian Agent Fred Baker to determine the origins and evaluate the claim of the Indians of Robeson County. Swanton speculated that Robeson's Indians were of Cheraw and other eastern Siouan tribal descent. At this point, the Lumbee population split into two groups. One group supported the Cheraw theory of ancestry. The other faction believed they were descended from the Cherokee, which had occupied territory in the mountains and western part of the state. North Carolina's politicians abandoned the federal recognition effort until the tribal factions agreed on an identity.

Lumbee Act


The Lumbee Act, also known as H.R. 4656, which recognized the Lumbee as having Native American origins but withheld recognition as a "tribe", was passed in late May 1956 and signed by President Dwight David Eisenhower on June 7, 1956. The Lumbee Act designated the Indians of Robeson, Hoke
Hoke County, North Carolina
-Demographics:As of the census of 2010, there were 46,952 people, 11,373 households, and 8,745 families residing in the county. The population density was 86 people per square mile . There were 12,518 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile...

, Scotland
Scotland County, North Carolina
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 35,998 people, 13,399 households, and 9,674 families residing in the county. The population density was 113 people per square mile . There were 14,693 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile...

, and Cumberland
Cumberland County, North Carolina
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 302,963 people, 107,358 households, and 77,619 families residing in the county. The population density was 464 people per square mile . There were 118,425 housing units at an average density of 181 per square mile...

 counties as the "Lumbee Indians of North Carolina." HR 4656 also stipulated that "[n]othing in this Act shall make such Indians eligible for any services performed by the United States for Indians because of their status as Indians." This restriction as to eligibility for services was a condition tribal representatives had agreed to at the time in order to achieve recognition. In testimony before Congress, Lumbee spokesmen repeatedly denied that they wanted any financial services; they said they only wanted recognition as American Indians.

Petitioning for federal recognition


The Lumbees have repeatedly sought federal recognition as an Indian tribe, going before Congress in 1899, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1924, 1932 and 1933 with petitions variously claiming to be Croatan, Cherokee, Siouan and Cheraw Indians.

In 1952, the Lumbees adopted their present name, after the Lumber River which winds through Robeson County. In 1956, Congress passed the Lumbee Act, saying that the Lumbee were entitled to call themselves the "Lumbee Indians of North Carolina" but as a condition of recognition as agreed upon by tribal representatives, denying them access to financial and other services accorded to other recognized Indian tribes. In testimony before Congress, Lumbee spokesmen had denied that they wanted any financial services; they said they only wanted recognition as American Indians.

In 1987, the Lumbees petitioned the U.S. Department of the Interior for federal recognition, in a bid for financial benefits accorded recognized Native American tribes. The petition was denied because of language in the Lumbee Act stating that the Lumbee were ineligible for federal benefits.

The Lumbee resumed lobbying
Lobbying
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

 Congress, testifying in 1988, 1989, 1991 and 1993 with bids for federal recognition by congressional action. All of these attempts failed in the face of opposition not only by the Department of Interior but also by the several recognized Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 tribes, including North Carolina's Eastern Band of the Cherokee, some of the North Carolina Congressional delegation, and some representatives from other states with federally recognized tribes. Some of the North Carolina delegation recommended an amendment to the 1956 Act that would enable the Lumbee to apply to the Department of Interior under the regular application process for recognition. The tribe made renewed bids for recognition with financial services in 2004 and 2006. In 2007 North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole
Elizabeth Dole
Mary Elizabeth Alexander Hanford "Liddy" Dole is an American politician who served in both the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidential administrations, as well as a United States Senator....

 introduced the Lumbee Recognition Act.

On January 6, 2009, US Representative Mike McIntyre
Mike McIntyre
Douglas Carmichael "Mike" McIntyre II is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

 introduced legislation (H.R. 31) intended to grant the Lumbee Indians federal recognition. The bill has since garnered the support of over 180 co-sponsors, including that of both North Carolina Senators (Richard Burr
Richard Burr
Richard Mauze Burr is the senior United States Senator from North Carolina and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, Burr represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives....

 and Kay Hagan). On June 3, 2009, the US House of Representatives voted 240 to 179 for federal recognition for the Lumbee tribe, acknowledging that they are the descendants of the Cheraw
Cheraw (tribe)
The Cheraw , were a tribe of Siouan-speaking Amerindians first encountered by Hernando De Soto in 1540. The name they called themselves is lost to history but the Cherokee called them Ani-suwa'ii and the Catawba Sara...

 tribe. The vote will go on to the US Senate. On October 22, 2009, the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is a committee of the United States Senate charged with oversight in matters related to the American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples. A Committee on Indian Affairs existed from 1820 to 1947, after which it was folded into the Committee on...

 approved a bill for federal recognition of the Lumbee. The bill includes a no-gaming clause. The bill still needs approval by the full Senate and the President before becoming law. The Senate adjourned for 2010 without taking action.

See also

  • List of notable Lumbees
  • Timeline of Lumbee history
    Timeline of Lumbee history
    The following is a timeline of the history of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, and some of their hypothesized ancestors.The following is a timeline of the history of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, and some of their hypothesized ancestors....

  • Brass Ankles
    Brass Ankles
    The Brass Ankles of South Carolina were a "tri-racial isolate" group that lived in the area of Orangeburg County, Berkeley County, and Charleston County in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. They were a mixture of African, Native American, and European descent. Although they were of mixed...

  • Genealogical DNA test
    Genealogical DNA test
    A genealogical DNA test examines the nucleotides at specific locations on a person's DNA for genetic genealogy purposes. The test results are not meant to have any informative medical value and do not determine specific genetic diseases or disorders ; they are intended only to give genealogical...


External links