Local News

Tuscaroras Dispute Lumbee Claim for Tribal Status

Posted April 30, 2007
Updated May 1, 2007

— After decades of fighting for federal recognition of their tribe, the Lumbees are now facing an odd opponent in their long battle -- another Native American tribe.

In a 24-7 vote last week, a U.S. House committee approved a bill that would make the Lumbees eligible for federal funds received by other tribes. But the Tuscarora Nation of Indians of the Carolinas, another tribe in North Carolina, claim the Lumbees are using Tuscarora history to win their claim for federal recognition.

"No one who did research down here could even tell you where the Lumbees came from. The Lumbees don't even know where the Lumbees came from," said Katherine Magnotta, tribal chairwoman.

The Tuscarora tribe claims about 3,000 members in southeast North Carolina, and members said their ancestors lived by the Lumber River for generations.

"Our people lived on the river. They fished, they got their nutrients, their food out of this river," Magnotta said. "We weren't trying to get recognition. We just wanted to live as Indian people."

The Lumbees claim 56,000 members, most living in Robeson County. The name was given to the tribe in the 1950s and was derived from the Lumber River.

The Lumbee Tribal Council declined to comment on the allegations, but members of the tribe said federal recognition is long overdue and the claim that they've raided the Tuscarora heritage is fiction.

"That kind of talk is another way of keeping us apart. We're all the same," said Willie Lowery, a member of the Lumbee tribe.

"(We would be) getting what all the other Indians have got. We're not asking for a bunch, no more or less," said Duel Dial, a Lumbee member.

Federal recognition could mean more than $80 million a year in government benefits for the Lumbees.

Magnotta said that would be money gained from her river and her heritage.

"The Lumbees have a lot of financial gain by saying we're one and the same people," she said.

The Tuscaroras said they plan to picket U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole's office Friday because of her support for the Lumbee bill.


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  • FITV May 3, 2007

    Thanks for letting me know. I do know her group and it goes for he as well. No one has the right to use our history. You can call yourself whatever you want, just leave my people out of it.

  • DF Lowry May 3, 2007

    Fed, I'll answer this one question then I'm outta here for good. None of us need heroes. You do what you think you gotta do. I'll continue to search for unity.

    You asked who Marilyn is. You should know how we're all being played against each other by the media. That's Marylin's flag pasted over the interview with Katherine.

    This is Marilyn...


  • DF Lowry May 3, 2007

    Thanks for your work. I've been trying to develop a new, very fast screening for pre-diabetes for the Native community where I live, through the National Diabetes Program. I have been successful with the science part, but not the funding part. Its tough to get it all to fall into place, so I really admire that you have.

  • blablah May 3, 2007

    Lowry, I have been fighting for the Native youths in two states. Although there is a Fed. program available, not all schools participate. Fortunately I have the backing of many political powers so my work has not, and does not, go in vain. That is why I have consistently said I care about the Native heritage more so than being associated with any tribe. My goal is to help all Natives and be supportive of each person - not for monetary gain. It's a spiritual thing for me...

  • DF Lowry May 3, 2007

    blablah, thanks, its too bad we can't fight side by side today, as John Brooks and the Lowrys did so long ago. What can you do?

    James Lowry, Edgecombe County Militia Rolls, 1750

    William Lowry, Revolutionary War Pensioner, Revolutionary War File #6732

    From Morment, _The_Lowrie_History_, http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/historyfiction/item.aspx?id=loh

    James Lowrie had three sons, viz: William, Thomas, and James, and at the commencement of the Revolutionary War William, this oldest, being then about grown, entered into the struggle for independence and joined the brave and patriotic band, then under the command of that noble Whig patriot, Col. Thomas Robeson, after whom and in honor of whom Robeson county was named. William Lowrie made a good Whig soldier and fought side by side with the whites in every skirmish and battle in which Col. Robeson was engaged. Whilst piloting Col. Wade and his men across Drowning Creek, after a massacre at Piney Bottom, in Cumberland county, William L

  • blablah May 3, 2007

    Lowry, thank you for being able to prove everything you have to say here. Too bad the Fed can't. But then again, when you think about it, "Feds"!

  • FITV May 3, 2007

    Ahh it is so interesting to read the works of those commissioned by the Lumbee.

  • FITV May 3, 2007

    It probably is kept in the John Brooks Building along with our other documents that have been hid from us. You Lumbee are really proud of my grandfathers name! Why did they not name the building after some of your ancestors who was suppose to have fought in the war as he did. The question is: why not pull your own selves up by your OWN bootstraps!

  • DF Lowry May 3, 2007

    Ahh, Malinda Maynor, she's the one who mentions a Lost Colony connection, right?

    "That some Indians of Robeson County were already familiar with the tenets of Christianity is evidenced by a hymn written by Priscilla Berry Lowrie before 1776. Priscilla Berry, the Indian granddaughter of Henry Berry, a survivor of the "Lost Colony of Roanoke," had married the James Lowrie who obtained a land grant for over one thousand acres. According to family tradition, the Lowrie's were a devout family before migrating from Pamlico Sound to present-day Robeson County. James and his son William had taken along a hymn book with which to sustain them while fighting alongside the colonies during the American Revolution. It was during this period that William, Priscilla and James's son, wrote a hymn in his mother's peculiar English dialect"

    from http://www.unc.edu/~mmaynor/religious/baptists.html

  • DF Lowry May 3, 2007

    Where is all this damning evidence on the Lumbees? Is it kept in the John Brooks Building at UNCP? Nobody likes the whiney victim mentality. Pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps.

    This the Brooks Family you speak of? Looks like Willy Lowery on the video above was right. We're all the same people, so watch what you say about yourself.