Hicks, Michell. “There are many factors to consider as Lumbee seek tribal status.” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC). April 25, 2004
This was written in response to a piece by Bud Shapard entitled “Government has a moral obligation to recognize Lumbee Indian tribe.”
Michell Hicks, the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, stated that, while tribal recognition is an emotional issue, emotions should be kept out of the decision-making process. He also brought up that there are serious questions about the Lumbee identity.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians supports groups seeking acknowledgement having a fair opportunity through the established process. However, Hicks cites the fact that the Lumbee have sought acknowledgment as four different unrelated tribes, including the “Cherokee Indians of Robeson County.” He questioned the Lumbee tribe’s integrity.
Hicks also pointed out that acknowledgement of the Lumbee tribe will result in existing tribes losing more than $682 million over a four-year period. Because of this impact and the questions that surround the Lumbee tribe, Hicks said that Congress should be 100 percent certain before granting federal acknowledgment.
Hicks ended by saying, “the Eastern Band has and will continue to act to protect our separate identity as Cherokees, including our language, culture, and political identity.”