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A Reader Writes . . .

NCNativeNews,

I was just searching out the information presented and thought that I should let you know: We are not known as Lumbee Regional Development Association. We are the Lumbee tribe. LRDA does not represent who we are. There are lots of misconceptions, misguidance, and uneducated information given to the public about who we are. Not so much in this site, but in others. So, you see, when you include us as an association and not a tribe, it adds to the wrong information given about us. Any person that does not know who we are or our correct history, would think we were just an association, which is untrue.

Also, I would like to add, why must we always separate federally recognized tribes from state, or whatever? The seperation needs to end, UNITY is the only thing that will help us move further. Also, what is Federal Recognition? A political and legal agreement between a tribe and the government. It has nothing to do with who are Native and who are not.

Well, I thank you for giving me a chance to say only a small portion of what I would like to say. Keep up the good work, but be careful with the words you choose. One word can make all the difference.

Lumbee Moonbeam

NCNativeNews Replies . . .

Dear Lumbee Moonbeam,

Thank you for writing to NC Native News.

First, we do not think this Web page separates or makes any distinction between federally recognized tribes and state recognized tribes with the purpose of fostering such separation or distinction. In our "Did You Know . . ." section, we have simply stated the facts. The separations and distinctions that exist seem to be instigated and maintained by Indian tribes themselves. The position of NC Native News is: If you are Indian, you are Indian; if you're not, you're not.

The reason the "Lumbee Tribe" is listed under NC Tribal Links as the Lumbee Regional Development Association is because the LRDA appears to be, and is, actually, the official organization representing the majority of the Lumbee people in North Carolina. (At least LRDA says it represents the marjority of the Lumbee people, some 40,000 by it's own statement.) Lumbees who carry an LRDA card belong to an organization and entity called the Lumbee Regional Development Association. To the best of our knowledge, there is no official tribal card which states the carrier or owner is a member of an official entity called the Lumbee Tribe. We realize there is another faction or group of Lumbee people who call themselves the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians. In no way does NC Native News think the people in this group are not Indians or Lumbee Indians. In no way does NC Native News think the people who are LRDA members are not Indians or Lumbee Indians.

The issue of federal recognition and state recognition is, as we said, one which seems to be maintained and emphasized by Indian tribes and Indian political groups themselves. A case in point is the attitude of the majority (which happens to be Lumbee) of the members of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs towards the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation and the Tuscarora here in North Carolina. And, we would like to point out that it is NCCIA member tribes and organizations that practice "carding" dancers at their powwows and sometimes refuse to allow Indians without "state-recognized" or federally recognized tribal membership cards to dance. Apparently, the NCCIA and it's member tribes and organizations do not acknowledge the concept of "who we are" when it comes to their fellow Indians outside that exclusive political circle.

We feel we have been "careful with the words" we chose in order to present an accurate and legal description of the entity which represents the majority of the Lumbee people. In using LRDA, we intended no disrespect or dishonor to the Lumbee people. If, in the future, the Lumbee people become an organized, self-governing, officially-recognized entity with the name Lumbee Tribe, or if the LRDA officially changes its name to The Lumbee Tribe, we will be happy to list that name on this site.

NC Native News

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following quotes are taken from www.lumbee.org, the official Web site of the "Lumbee Tribe/Lumbee Regional Development Association."

"In 1968, leaders of the Lumbee tribe organized Lumbee Regional Development Association, a private non-profit corporation, . . . The leadership of this organization consists of twenty elected directors who represent Lumbee communities located in Robeson, Hoke, and Scotland counties."

"Lumbee Regional Development Association has been recognized by both the state and the federal government as the representative governing body of the Lumbee tribe since 1971." . . . "LRDA is recognized as the governing body and representative body for the Lumbee tribe in Robeson, Hoke, Scotland, and Cumberland counties. LRDA and it's leaders serve as principal advocates for the Lumbee tribe in local, state, and national Indian events, issues, and concerns."

"LRDA maintains the Lumbee tribal roll. . ."