This valuable (and reasonably priced) study, with a Prologue by Linda E. Oxendine and an Epilogue by Barbara Braveboy-Locklear, is one of the first sources that should be consulted by non-specialists seeking to understand the major topics (origins, culture, language, government relations, health, Henry Berry Lowry, and federal recognition). Because of Knick’s extensive knowledge of archaeology, the Lumbee, and of Native American studies in general, this work will amplify and clarify these topics for the specialist or Lumbee scholar as well—and will probably come to be a regularly consulted source.
Knick is a clear, engaging writer who is quite skillful at making complex issues understandable as well as memorable. In this work, by giving attention to context, Knick—in a straightforward, matter-of-fact way—can confront (and, one hopes, eliminate) stereotypical views that have been a part of attitudes regarding the Lumbee (and many Native Americans) for much too long. In focusing on context, Knick takes the time to explain topics such as traditional culture, idioms, kinship, the impact of epidemics on Native Americans in the Southeast, the perspectives of anthropology, and race vs. ethnicity before he applies them to the Lumbee. Thus, questions readers might have had but have been reluctant to ask are anticipated and answered.
Particularly interesting and useful are Knick’s discussions of:
• the elements of traditional culture that have survived among the Lumbee;
• the “games” played by the federal govenment regarding recognition of Indian tribes (the Treaty Game, the Reservation Game, the Blood Game, the Origins Game, and the Inconsistency Game);
• sterotypes of the physical appearance of Indians;
• why and how the Lumbee are most likely the result of coalescence of remnants of several tribes; and
• “Because It’s Right” (“required reading” on the issue of federal recognition for the Lumbee).