Staff Report. “Cherokee say Lumbee decision should be made by Indian Affairs.” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC). April 3, 2004
Michell Hicks, the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, expressed his beliefs to the United States House Resources Committee that the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs should decide on the issue of federal recognition for the Lumbee tribe, not congress.
All in all, 53,000 people identify as part of the Lumbee tribe, 40,000 of them living in Robeson County. Supporters of the Lumbee people achieving recognition say that it would help improve the lives of these citizens. The Lumbee have sought recognition since 1888, and, if they were to win it, they could receive up to $77 million a year in federal assistance. This money would be used for education, health care and economic development.
Some detractors to the idea of the Lumbee tribe gaining federal recognition believe that this money would be used to build a casino. As a large part of the state is conservative and against gambling, this makes them wary of granting them the money.