Last week, Thomasi McDonald wrote about the Lumbee tribe’s quest for federal recognition, despite pushback from other tribes.

Lumbee tribe member EMILY LOCKLEAR, of Chicago, pointed out in an email that plenty of documentation exists to verify Lumbee ancestry. 

“Richard Sneed and the [Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians] pathologically deny the Lumbee, but it is not because our claims are illegitimate or unverifiable,” she wrote. “No, it is because the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina poses an economic threat to the EBCI. The EBCI gained total recognition under the exact same circumstances in which the Lumbee Tribe currently seek total recognition—that’s right, an act of Congress. So for Richard Sneed to be quoted in “North Carolina Tribes Clash on Recognizing Lumbees” as having said, “We didn’t invent these rules and this process, but we have played by the rules, we have respected the process. We expect other tribes to as well” is laughable, because the Lumbee Tribe is not only following the rules. We’re following the rules the EBCI followed, to the T.

The EBCI believe that recognition through Congress is a viable option for them, and not the Lumbee. Even more interesting is when you consider the fact that they were silent when six tribes in Virginia were granted total recognition by acts of Congress as well. But since those nations’ boundaries are in Virginia and have NO gaming rights, they pose no financial threat, and at the end of the day, that’s all this boils down to. Just ask the Catawba.

The Lumbee are not asking for anything that isn’t rightfully ours; as a matter of fact, it’s the only thing we’ve been asking for since 1888. 

No matter how hard Richard Sneed and the EBCI attempt to manipulate Lumbee history in their repeatedly unsuccessful bids to legitimize clear lies as truths, the Lumbee truth remains steadfast. It doesn’t matter that Sneed’s motivations are equal parts self-serving and questionable; the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina was acknowledged by the federal government in 1956 as inherently indigenous, and our seat at the table is long overdue—and ours, by right.”