Published On: Sat, May 13th, 2017

LETTER: Reader shares thoughts on Lumbees with Sen. Burr

Note: This is a letter sent by Robert Chavis to Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).   

The Skarure Katehnuaka Tuscarora Nation of Indians have and are of a rich part of NC history past and present. We are state and federal, yet the state NCCIA (North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs) of 1971 tries to leave the Tuscarora out of a government-to-government relationship that we have has since early and late 1700s 1754 and 1761 which is after the so called Tuscarora war of 1713.

We think great if some confused natives want to be under a false native tribal name Lumbee, but it should be great for Tuscarora to be here as well as we have for since the beginning of human kind. It is sad to see the genocide of native to native at the NCCIA, when in fact if not for the Tuscarora of the past there might not even be a native here to call Lumbee.  Also, your child can change their name, but that change does not wipe the name Burr out or your family under that name Burr no matter when the younger wants to become something else.

The Lumbee have tried several times in the past to garner federal recognition, but such attempts have failed to garner actions. In fact, they garnered their initial recognition status only by claiming they were the Cherokee of Roberson County. A claim later dismissed and the Lumbee have continued to attach themselves to many extinct and former tribes of the Carolinas. They have adapted and copied customs from recognized tribes in the southeast and pass them off as Lumbee. Culture and traditions are not “one-size-fits-all” notions. Some of these traditions are unique to certain people, and for the Lumbee to pass them off as original is disgraceful to those who have sacrificed centuries of hardship to preserve.

I urge you Senator, to look into their actual history. We, Tuscarora, and the Cherokee can show and tell you the real that the Lumbee are not a tribe but just a non-profit organization that states they are working for natives here. Furthermore, they receive more funding from state and federal governments than some federal tribes. This bill is a way for them to be recognized by outsiders and not by the actual people who are educated in the process and help out the generations of Natives recovering from generations of trauma. Their history was gone until they found it beneficial and relevant for them. I thank you for taking time to listen to my concerns.

Signed,

Robert Chavis

Wolf Clan Chief Skarure Katehnuaka Tuscarora nation of Indians

Red Springs, NC