Hixenbaugh, Mike. "2 sides of change in Lumbee Tribal Council's first 10 years." Fayetteville Observer [Fayetteville, NC]. January 30, 2011.
Hundreds of people gathered ten years ago for the moment one tribal leader declared "the most significant event in the history of Lumbee Nation." On that January day in 2001 - before a crowd of more than 600 tribal members crammed shoulder to shoulder in Lumberton - a government was born.
Much has changed since that day ten years ago. The young tribal government has adopted a constitution, implemented and expanded sweeping social programs, built hundreds of homes for low-income tribal members, and made advances in the tribe's century-long fight to win full federal recognition in Washington.
But the tribal government also has faced controversy and criticism. Council meetings have been disrupted by protest; a federal investigation of tribal programs has exposed waste and mismanagement; and accusations by former tribal employees have raised concerns about transparency and nepotism.
With the drop of a gavel in the winter of 1999, Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ordered a new beginning for the Lumbee Tribe. His decision ended a lengthy power struggle between feuding tribal factions and set the stage for the formation of the government in place today.
"I had to put the hammer down," Manning said, reflecting earlier this month on his decision a decade ago. "I created a box, a mechanism by which they could form a true government. They took it from there."