Sample Case Study Summary on The Lumbee Indians of North Carolina: Why Their Struggle for Federal Recognition

The Lumbee Indians of North Carolina: Why Their Struggle for Federal Recognition

Following the history of the Lumbee reveals information that they are more or less Native Americans. Their consideration as American Indians has however been riddled with immense apprehension as they are denied services at the department of Indian Americans with claims that they are not a genuine Indian tribe. The Lumbee are believed to have originated from leftovers of various tribes that came together to look for asylum in parts of North Carolina. They were later joined by ex-slaves and some poor whites. As a result, linking them to indigenous Indian tribes is impossible. Moreover, they do not have a distinct language.

The Lumbee themselves propose a link to the native Tuscarora, a link that has been disputed. Most tribes in America are distinguished by law and formal settlements. This gives them profit in terms of access to financial and social assistance (Brooks, 2002). In order to be distinguished, a tribe has to offer documentation that shows its origin, something the Lumbee have been unable to do up to date.

Because of this lack of documentation, the Lumbee have been unable to gain distinguishment either independently or through association with other tribes such as the Cherokee. This is because the other Indian tribes do not wish to be combined with them due to their vast numbers which will diminish the federal benefits of distinguishment (Den Ouden and O’Brien, 2013). Due to the potential inconveniences, the Lumbee have highlighted their plight with the claim that they do not desire financial backing from the government due to their vast income sources. What they desire is the recognition and acquisition of local government services as Americans. A bill has been proposed for the distinguishment of such native tribes. However, it might take time before the bill is passed.


Brooks. (2002).Ed. Confounding the Color Line: The Indian-Black Experience in North America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Retrieved from

Den Ouden, A. E., & O’Brien, E. (2013). Recognition, Sovereignty Struggles, and Indigenous Rights in the United States. North Carolina: University of North Carolina press. Retrieved from

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