North Carolina tribe still seeking full federal recognition

Lumberton, North Carolina (AP) December 2010

The Lumbee Indians still don’t have the full recognition of the federal government.

The U.S. Senate adjourned last week without taking up legislation pushed by the tribe and backed by both of the state’s senators.

The 55,000-member tribe has been recognized by North Carolina since the 1880s. The federal government granted partial recognition in 1956 but denied the benefits that accompanied it.

Lumbee leaders told The Fayetteville Observer that full recognition would bring hundreds of millions of dollars for education, health care and economic development.

Supporters plan to start pushing the bill again when the new Congress is sworn in next month. The bill passed the House by 61 votes, but 59 lawmakers that supported it were voted out in November.