A study of Lumbee homicide, 1983-1987. What's going on here?

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Locklear, Ramona. "A study of Lumbee homicide, 1983-1987. What's going on here?" Thesis (Master of Public Health). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989. 84 pages.


This thesis begins with a literature review on homicide among non-White populations, particularly Native Americans. The literature review looks at prevalence, age groups, gender, and weapons used, as well as possible causes or contributing factors and conditions for the higher homicide rates. Causes that were postulated include cultural differences leading to more aggression; alcohol abuse; socioeconomic status; handgun availability; social stress; the strength of social support groups; racism; inequality; the mental health systems; and sense of identity.

Locklear reviews two studies that compare homicide and suicide among the Lumbee and the North Carolina Cherokee: Humphrey (1982) and Kupferer (1975), as well as other relevant published sources. She discusses the Lumbee "Now for now" and "A man is a man" cultural themes, which might predispose them to aggression and violence. The Cherokee, by contrast, have a lower homicide rate than the Lumbee and conservative members of the tribe have a harmony ethic.

Locklear then presents the results of her research. She studied homicide among the Lumbee for the years 1983-1987, using the factors of race, age, sex, and weapon. The same factors were examined for homicides during those years for Robeson County; for North Carolina; and for the United States. Locklear gathered secondary data from Uniform Crime Reports (both Crime in the United States and Crime in North Carolina) and from the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office. She used a formula to calculate the homicide rates for Robeson County and for the Lumbee. The results of her analysis for the four-year period are discussed in detail and presented in sixteen Figures. The following are some highlights from her analysis and Figures:

• Homicide rates for North Carolina and for the United States stayed about the same from 1983 to 1987.

• Robeson County's rate was at least twice North Carolina's for three of the five years.

• In 1983 and 1984, the Lumbee homicide rate was three times that of North Carolina and the United States.

• In 1985 and 1986, the Lumbee homicide rate was 3 1/2 times the United States rate and four times the North Carolina rate.

• In 1987, the Lumbee homicide rate dropped significantly but remained twice the county, state, and national rates. Locklear was unable to discern the cause of the 1987 drop.

• Considering Robeson County: The Lumbee and Black homicide rates decreased over the 5-year period. However, the Lumbee rate changed from 4 to 8 times the White rate during the period. The Lumbee rate was higher than the Black rate for all years except 1987.

• Considering Whites in the United States overall: The Lumbee homicide rate for this period ranged from 10 1/2 to 20 times the rate for Whites in the United States as a whole.

• Considering Whites in North Carolina overall: Lumbee rates ranged from 5 to 7 times higher.

• Considering Blacks in North Carolina overall: The Lumbee rate was almost double the Black rate, except for 1987, when the Black rate was somewhat higher.

• Age groups for Lumbee homicides: No victims were 14 or younger; roughly 33% were ages 25-34; roughly 40% were ages 35-44; the number who were ages 45-54 varied sharply during the period; and victims over age 65 were either 10% or none.

• Lumbee homicide victims by gender: males were 4 1/2 times more likely than females to be murdered in 1983 and 1984, and 6 to 6 1/2 times more likely in 1985 and 1986.

• Weapons: Lumbee perpetrators of homicide used a firearm in 60% of the cases during the five-year period. Depending on the year, either a sharp instrument (usually a knife) or a blunt instrument (usually a club) was used second most frequently.

• When race is controlled for, Lumbees still had higher homicide rates than did Robeson County; North Carolina; or the United States.

Locklear provides a section entitled "Health education implications and recommendations," in which she discusses several models for dealing with violence. These include the host, agent, and environment theory (with Haddon's ten strategies for injury control); consciousness raising; and community development. She concludes with specific recommendations for the Lumbee Tribe, including a needs assessment; training political and social leaders to combat homicide; teaching children and adolescents conflict resolution; establishing programs for high-risk or maladjusted children and adolescents; and gun safety training. She also identifies networks, agencies, and institutions that could assist with these efforts. She discusses social, political, and community factors that need to be addressed.

The thesis concludes with several appendices and a statistical analysis.

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A copy is included in the Leonard Dawson Papers (http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/d/Dawson,Leonard_H.html#) (#4802), Folder 32, 1988, Southern Historical Collection, Manuscripts Department, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dawson was the advisor for this thesis. E-mail Imaging and Photographic Services (http://www.lib.unc.edu/preservation/ips.html) in the Manuscripts Department for an estimate of the cost of photocopying and mailing the thesis.