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Race & Demographics

Chairman Says Lumbee Tribe Won't Get Federal Recognition This Year

A logo of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
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Wikimedia Commons

The chairman of North Carolina's Lumbee Tribe says that the tribe will not be getting federal recognition this year.

Legislation to federally recognize the tribe has failed.

The Charlotte Observer reported that chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. posted a statement on Facebook on Sunday that said federal recognition would not be included in the appropriations bill Congress is passing.

“Even after our dedicated recent efforts to get Lumbee recognition legislation enacted, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you we have not been successful,” Godwin wrote.

There had been optimism earlier this year that the tribe would get recognition. There was support from President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden.

There also was passage of a recognition bill in the U.S. House. And North Carolina’s U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis backed the effort.

Godwin said his tribe will continue to fight for recognition.

“I can assure you this is not the final word on Lumbee Recognition,” Godwin said.

There are about 60,000 enrolled Lumbee. Many live in North Carolina's Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke and Scotland counties. The tribe has been recognized by the state since 1885.

WUNC's Celeste Gracia contributed to this report.

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