Museum of the Southeast American Indian

1956 Lumbee Act

An Act
Relating to the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina

Whereas many Indians now living in Robeson and adjoining counties are descendants of that once large and prosperous tribe which occupied the lands along the Lumbee River at the time of the earliest white settlements in that section; and

Whereas at the time of their contacts with the colonists, these Indians were a well-established and distinctive people living in European-type houses in settled towns and communities, owning slaves and livestock, tilling the soil, and practicing many of the arts and crafts of European civilization; and

Whereas by reason of tribal legend, coupled with a distinctive appearance and manner of speech and the frequent recurrence among them of family names such as Oxendine, Locklear, Chavis, Drinkwater, Bullard, Lowery, Sampson and others, also found on the roster of the earliest English settlements, these Indians may, with considerable show of reason, trace their origin to an admixture of colonial blood with certain coastal tribes of Indians; and

Whereas these people are naturally and understandably proud of their heritage, and desirous of establishing their social status and preserving their racial history: Now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the Indians now residing in Robeson and adjoining counties of North Carolina, originally found by the first white settlers on the Lumber River in Robeson County, and claiming joint descent from remnants of early American colonists and certain tribes of Indians

Originally inhabiting the coastal regions of North Carolina, shall, from and after the ratification of this Act, be known and designated as Lumbee Indians of North Carolina and shall continue to enjoy all rights, privileges, and immunities enjoyed by them as citizens of the State of North Carolina and of the United States as they enjoyed before the enactment of this Act, and shall continue to be subject to all the obligations and duties of such citizens under the laws of the State of North Carolina and the United States. Nothing in this Act shall make such Indians eligible for any services performed by the United States for Indians because of their status as Indians, and none of the statutes of the United States which affect Indians because of their status as Indians shall be applicable to the Lumbee Indians.

June 7, 1956

 

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