WASHINGTON (WBTW) — North Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to give federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D), Dan Bishop (R), Richard Hudson (R), and David Price (D) introduced the Lumbee Recognition Act of 2021.
The tribe has been recognized by the state of North Carolina since 1885 and it has sought federal recognition since 1888, according to a news release.
“North Carolina House members have again stepped up for the Lumbee people, reintroducing the bipartisan Lumbee Recognition Act of 2021,” Lumbee Tribe Chairman Harvey Godwin said. “We are immensely appreciative of Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s championship of our cause, and for Rep. Dan Bishop’s unwavering support.”
Godwin also thanked Hudson and Price.
“The tribal administration is thrilled,” Lumbee Tribe assistant legal compliance officer Matt Roller said. “We’re truly appreciative of our congressional delegation, their bipartisan efforts, and their willingness to stand with the Lumbee tribe.” If passed, the bill would provide more scholarship opportunities for Lumbee students. One mother whose daughter is about to enter college said this could be a big help.
“She’ll be going into the medical field, so of course with that comes great expense,” Lumbee Tribe member Penny Oxendine said. “Being able to have funds to help with that would be great for our family.” Her daughter registered for her tribal ID Friday to help with scholarship applications. They are hopeful the bill will pass.
“I am proud to reintroduce this bill to right a historic wrong by finally extending the Lumbee Tribe the full federal recognition it deserves,” Butterfield said.
“Since coming to Congress, one of my top priorities has been to fight for federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe,” Bishop said. “It is a tragedy the federal government has denied members of the Lumbee Tribe their rightful Native American heritage, and I am hopeful Congress will address this obvious injustice.”
In 2020, the Lumbee Recognition Act of 2019 passed the house without any objections, according to the news release. Both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump expressed their support for the bill. The bill failed to pass in the Senate.
The Lumbee Tribe has nearly 60,000 members.