RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s senators have introduced a bill to provide federal recognition to the state’s Lumbee Indian tribe.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan jointly introduced the bill Oct. 1. There are 55,000 Lumbee Indians in Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke and Scotland counties.
The tribe began its quest for recognition in 1888, three years after North Carolina formally recognized it. Congress partially recognized the tribe in 1956 but denied the Lumbees federal benefits given to other American Indians.
The House approved federal recognition for the Lumbees in June. President Barack Obama has pledged to support recognition of the Lumbee Tribe. Other tribes have opposed congressional recognition of the Lumbees, questioning their ability to trace members to a historic tribe.
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