Shiles, Bob. "Ruling means tribe can seek recognition through Interior Department." Robesonian [Lumberton, NC] January 13, 2017.
The Lumbee Tribe now has an alternate route to federal recognition through the federal Department of Interior’s Part 83 acknowledgment petition process.
Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. said that it would be a long process, perhaps three to 10 years, and Congress may still be the best option. The new process became available after a memorandum issued on December 22, 2016 allowed the Lumbee to pursue recognition through the Department of Interior.
The Lumbee Federal Recognition bill has never passed the Senate since the Lumbee began seeking recognition in 1888. Recognition would grant the tribe hundreds of millions of dollars more a year.
Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins issued the memo after disagreeing with assertions made with previous officials. She said, “Over the past four decades, the department has vacillated in its interpretations of the Lumbee Act. Solicitor’s Office memoranda in 1989 concluded that the act barred the department from acknowledging the Lumbee Indians as an Indian tribe through the Part 83 process. Because I find that neither the text of the Lumbee Act nor its legislative history precludes the Lumbee Indians from petitioning for federal acknowledgment under the department’s regulations, I conclude that they may avail themselves of the acknowledgment process in 25 C.F.R. Part 83.”