Freeman, Leroy. “Chairman: LRDA serves all Indians.” Robesonian Wednesday, June 28, 2000: 4A.
In this editorial column, Leroy Freeman, chairperson of the Lumbee Regional Development Association (LRDA) Board of Directors, responds to a recent editorial column by Ervin Locklear-Brayboy, Chief of the Tribal Council of the Tuscarora, entitled “What's in Lumbee name? Not much.” (Robesonian Friday, June 26, 2000, p. 4A; item LOCK001). Freeman provides a useful and detailed historical overview of LRDA and its aims and services. Here is a list of highlights from the article: Established in 1968 as Regional Development Association, Inc. to analyze, and devise solutions for, the problems of the rural and urban poor. In 1970, renamed Lumbee Regional Development Association. The charter was also amended to reflect specific focus on needs of, and services to, the Lumbee tribe. The Board of Directors includes a representative from each Lumbee community in Robeson and neighboring counties. LRDA has secured and administered funds for programs to meet the needs of the Lumbee community in the areas of housing, energy assistance, child day care, and job training assistance. LRDA has helped the tribe maintain tribal enrollment records since the 1970s by operating the Lumbee Tribal Enrollment Office. LRDA has represented the tribe in local, state, and federal issues regarding Native Americans. The tribal referendum held in 1984 gave LRDA limited authority to do so. This limited authority was reaffirmed in Judge Howard Manning's 1999 court order (see item LUMB004). LRDA's policy is to assist all Native Americans in its service region, not just the Lumbee. Its outreach programs to address education, employment, Native-owned businesses, and more have affected all Native Americans in its service area and have required the support of the entire Native community. LRDA's meetings are open to all. Needs and opinions can also be forwarded to LRDA by contacting a local Board representative.