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Lumbee Indians, North Carolina (state recognized)

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A new survey finds most Lumbee want a representative form of government with districts - good news to tribal leaders who want to hold an election to create a government this fall. Preliminary results show "an overwhelming majority" of the 300 Lumbees polled want that kind of representative government, Don Gersh of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, told members of a Lumbee commission July 8. Leaders hope a Nov. 7 election will end an ongoing power struggle between two groups that want to govern more than 40,000 Lumbees, most of whom live in and around Robeson County. The government would control millions in federal and state aid. The Lumbee Self-Determination Commission is working toward the November election, but members still must decide who is eligible to run, the terms of office and the boundaries of the districts. The main sticking point is what powers the new government will have. Commission chairman Jim Lowry proposed placing a referendum on the ballot requiring the new government to write a constitution by a certain deadline. Tribal members would then vote later on the constitution. The Lumbee Tribal Council and the Lumbee Regional Development Association have clashed for years over governing the Lumbees.