Burr introduces legislation to provide long-awaited federal recognition to Lumbee Tribe

Bipartisan legislation recently reintroduced by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) would grant federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe, which has inhabited North Carolina’s Robeson County region since the early 1800s.

Formally recognized by North Carolina in 1885, the Lumbee Tribe has also sought federal recognition since 1888. Congress approved federal recognition in 1956 with a provision that the Lumbee Tribe would be denied benefits that other federally-recognized tribes receive.

Burr reintroduced the bicameral legislation to help the Lumbee Tribe secure the same rights of other federally-recognized tribes. U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation so that the 55,000 members of the Lumbee community in North Carolina receive the same rights and benefits as members of other federally recognized tribes,” Burr said. “The Lumbee tribe has been seeking recognition for more than a century. This is long overdue.”

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew last year, Pittenger added, the Lumbee tribe was forced to pursue disaster relief using a different process than the one other federally recognized tribes had access to.

“The Lumbee Tribe deserves the same recognition and benefits as other federally recognized tribes,” Pittenger said. “They aren’t treated as equals. Thank you to Sen. Burr for working with me, on behalf of the Lumbees, to correct this century-old wrong.”