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WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs in support of his Lumbee Recognition Act (H.R. 3650). 

 

Click here for full video of Congressman Pittenger’s testimony in support of full federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe.

 

“First and foremost, this is an issue of fairness.  In heritage, culture, and many times in their relationship with state and federal government, the Lumbee are every bit as Indian as any other tribe in this country.

 

“This is not about gaming.  My bill specifically prohibits the Lumbee Tribe from conducting gaming activities.  Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, passing this bill is simply the right thing to do. 

 

“I am confident that after Chairman Godwin’s testimony today you will understand the injustice and discriminatory policies against the Lumbee Tribe.  The Lumbee were put into this situation by Congress in 1956, and it is time we act and grant the tribe their much-deserved full federal recognition.  I ask that you right this wrongdoing for current and future generations of Lumbee.”

 

Congress recognized the Lumbee Tribe in 1956, but unfairly prevented the tribe from receiving federal benefits.  As a result, the Lumbee Tribe is not eligible for vital economic development programs through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and following Hurricane Matthew was unable to receive disaster relief in the manner normally available to other federally-recognized tribes.

 

Congressman Pittenger introduced and is fighting to pass the Lumbee Recognition Act (H.R. 3650), which would grant the Lumbee Tribe full federal recognition.  Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

 

Today’s legislative hearing was an opportunity for Congressman Pittenger and Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin to explain the necessity of Lumbee recognition to key Members of Congress.  The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Native Alaska Affairs is expected to take further action on H.R. 3650 at a later date.

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