Washington, D.C. — Senators Ted Budd (R-NC) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) have introduced the Lumbee Fairness Act, which would grant federal benefits to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. These are the same benefits that every other federally-recognized tribe receives.
The House version of the bill is led by Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) and sponsored by Reps. Dan Bishop (R-NC), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-NC), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Deborah Ross (D-NC), and Don Davis (D-NC).
Sen. Budd said in a statement:
“The more than 60,000 North Carolina members of the Lumbee Tribe have waited decades for federal recognition. They deserve the same rights, privileges, and respect granted to other Native American tribes throughout our country. I look forward to working with Senator Tillis to finally get this across the finish line.”
Sen. Tillis said:
“More than six decades ago, Congress made a promise to recognize the Lumbee Tribe, but then failed to keep it. I’m committed to making sure the Lumbees finally get the full recognition they deserve. There is broad bipartisan consensus for full federal recognition, earning the unequivocal support of both President Biden and former President Trump, and passing on a bipartisan basis in the House in the last two Congresses. I’m proud to introduce this legislation to uphold the promise to the Lumbee Tribe, and I will continue to work across the aisle to get it across the finish line.”
The Lumbee Tribe is the largest American-Indian tribe in the Eastern United States. In 1885, North Carolina formally recognized the Lumbee Tribe. Three years later, the Tribe began to seek federal recognition. In 1956, Congress finally passed legislation recognizing the tribe, but the bill included an unfair caveat that denied the Lumbee benefits that every other federally-recognized tribe receives.