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State Budget Includes Lumbee Money

RALEIGH, NC The 2000-2001 state budget approved by the House of Representatives includes $100,000 to support the Lumbee Self-Determination Commission's efforts to conduct a tribal election in November.

The spending proposal, filed last month by Rep. Ron Sutton, D-Pembroke, will give the commission a needed financial boost, said Jim Lowry, commission chairman.

"We need every penny of that $100,000, and we are grateful to Rep. Sutton for submitting the bill," Lowry said. "In order for the procedures to be set up to hold an election in November, a lot of work has to be done to contact every member of the Lumbee tribe around the world that we can.

"To do that we are going to have to conduct numerous mailings and spend a lot of time and effort updating old addresses. That's going to cost a lot of money."

The proposed $14 billion budget, which must be approved by the Senate, also includes language that allows money earned by the state at Riverside Golf Course near Pembroke to be used to renovate and make other improvements at the golf course, a staffer at the House Fiscal Research Division said. The money normally goes into the state's general fund.

The spending proposal provides a legal mechanism for investing money back into the golf course, said Rep. Sutton, a Lumbee, who sponsored the budget line item. The property's account contains $30,000.

The creation of the Lumbee Self-Determination Commission was ordered on April 15, 1999, by Superior Court Judge Howard Manning after he ruled that neither the Lumbee Regional Development Association nor the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians were the governing bodies of the Lumbee people.

Manning charged the 39-member commission with the responsibility of creating a process "by which the Lumbee people's right to self-determination may be protected and yet, carried out by the Lumbee people themselves."

(From The Robesonian)