Tribal Supreme Court fails 57,000 members

October 15, 2013

To the Editor,

It’s been a busy week in Lumbee Land. Being “busy” doesn’t mean you are making progress.

The Supreme Court has ruled on two major issues. The Tribal Supreme Court banished Pearlene Revels and ruled to continue an illegal Tribal Council election.

It was said earlier in the week that the Tribal Supreme Court was the only branch of our tribal government that was not “shooting itself in the foot.” That is correct. The Supreme Court is shooting 57,000 Lumbees in the head.

Pearlene Revels acted irresponsibly and lawlessly. She should not be in office. The Tribal Supreme Court, however, does not have the right per the Tribal Constitution to banish a tribal member. This is a lawless act as well. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

The Tribal Supreme Court instructing tribal administration to conduct the November Tribal Council elections is in direct violation of the Tribal Constitution’s written instruction on constructing a 21 member/21-district Tribal Council. Again, the Tribal Supreme Court has acted in a lawless manner. The Tribal Constitution does not require a November 2013 Tribal Council election.

The Tribal Supreme Court had an opportunity in November 2012 to act under the law of the Lumbee Constitution and to correct issues of our tribal government. If the Tribal Supreme Court had done so at that time, Pearlene and the 21 would have been out of office this past January. 2013 would have been a different year for our tribal government. Instead of digging a deeper hole in the mud, Lumbee people would have climbed a mountain and been looking over into a promised land of true democracy.

By its actions and absence of actions, the Tribal Supreme Court has shown itself to be a politically motivated body. Personally, I think any decision of the Tribal Supreme Court should be ignored because it is founded not in justice but in spite. I am told that my grandmother often said being spiteful is a sure road to condemnation.

Luke 18:1-17 carries Jesus’ parable of a persistent widow who kept begging a judge “who neither feared God nor cared about men” for justice. The judge gave into the woman’s request because she kept bothering him. Jesus instructs through this parable that by faith justice will come and come quickly, regardless of the hearts of men.

Eric R. Locklear