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UNCP hosts homecoming for Lumbee authors


It was a homecoming for Lumbee authors on July 6 at the annual Lumbee Book Talk during Lumbee Homecoming week.

“This event is for Lumbee authors and authors who write about the Lumbee,” said host Dr. Mary Ann Jacobs, chair of UNCP’s American Indian Studies Department. The authors talked about their books in print and their books in progress.It was the third annual event at UNC Pembroke, and it attracted authors from across the state to discuss their books.

Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowry, who teaches American Indian history at UNC-Chapel Hill, is also between books. She read a section about Lumbee hero Henry Berry Lowrie from her book “Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation.”

“I love writing and the Lumbee,” Dr. Maynor Lowry said. “My new project is Lumbee history from 1500 to the present, and this time it will be Lumbee history for a general audience.”

Her first book was an academic look at local history, but she promised the new books would “speak more to my own background and to the Lumbee people.”

Dr. Joseph Oxendine, chancellor emeritus of UNCP, discussed why, as an academic in a different field, he wrote “American Indian Sports Heritage.”

“I am an academic, not a professional Indian scholar,” Dr. Oxendine said. “After the Wounded Knee uprising, I was asked to go to the Pine Ridge Reservation with Billy Mills and others to soothe the hostile climate there.

“I felt we did some good, but what I did see was depression, and the most depressing thing was the attitudes of the young people. I had heroes when I was growing up; they had no heroes, no plans.”

By underscoring American Indian sports from pre-Columbian through the modern era, Dr. Oxendine hoped to provide both context and role models.

Bruce Barton and co-author Tim Brayboy wrote “Playing Before an Overflow Crowd: The Story of Indian Basketball in Robeson and Adjoining Counties,” a segregation-era story.

“I’m very proud of this book,” Barton said. “It’s a time that has come and gone, and we tried to make that time stand still.”

Barton is currently seeking a publisher for his next work, “Ruminations of the Heart: Revelations from Henry Berry Lowrie.”

Barton said his quest to unravel the mystery of the local hero’s disappearance in 1872 took him on a personal journey.

“A few years ago, I went out looking for him,” Barton said. “I tried to make him real, based on what I saw of people while I was growing up.”

Barton’s sister, Gloria Barton Gates travelled from Chapel Hill to the event. Like Barton, she recalled growing up in a home of writers.

“Everybody was writing but me,” Gates said. “So, I wrote the “Scuffletown Cookbook.”

Gates compiled family recipes and stories, and the cookbook received statewide notice from Our State magazine, which reprinted several recipes.

Arvis Boughman is working on a new children’s book after “Chicora and the Little People,” a Native American story for children with local artist Delora Cummings.     

“People ask why I write for children,” said Boughman, who is a speech-language pathologist. “ I’ve spent the majority of my life working with children. It’s where we want to make a difference.”

After writing and contributing to several books, Dr. Stan Knick has turned to video to create “video ethnographies” of the Lumbee and other North Carolina tribes. He teaches anthropology at UNCP and is the director of its Native American Resources Center and curator of it museum.

Dr. Knick has edited a collection of Lumbee writers titled “River Spirits.” He contributed to “Fine in the Day: Lumbee Language in Time and Place,” a linguistic study of the Lumbee dialect, and he wrote “The Lumbee in Context,” a look at the origins of the tribe.

The authors signed books provided by the UNCP Bookstore, which carries the books in its local authors section. To purchase a book, contact Keats Ellis at the Bookstore by calling 910.521.6692 or email