To the Editor,
Paul Brooks has become dictator over the $13 million of federal funds that comes each year into the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Before the Brooks administration, the 21 members of the Lumbee Tribal Council were responsible for the accountability of these federal funds.
Since Brooks has been in office, he and Bosco Locklear, Tony Hunt, Lesaundri Hunt and Janie McFarland serve on the committee that now controls the $13 million in federal funding intended to serve 57,000 Lumbee tribal members. Two of these four individuals are Brooks employees and some might argue all four are.
The Lumbee Constitution and the Constitution of these United States of America are documents that forge democratic governments. Democracies are worth fighting for. Families in Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, Scotland and counties all over North Carolina send men and women each day into our armed forces to defend America’s democracy. People all over America go to bed each night praying for the safety of our Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine and Navy enlisted men and women.
We here on American soil have a responsibility to fight for democracy as well. In the instances where democratic government is overturned for dictatorship such as this with Brooks and the control of federal funds, the people of America must stand and rise to arms.
Brooks has used the federal check book irresponsibly at the expense of Lumbee families, children and elders. In December Brooks hosted a meal preparing and paying for 2,000 that was attended by 100 tribal members (including tribal administration staff). Just a week ago another event prepared and paid for 800 guests with only 200 showing up. Food and money have been wasted that could have provided energy and homes. You cannot recover money spent on uneaten turkey and dressing to pay electric bills or buy shingles.
Brooks was told by the Tribal Supreme Court in December to establish public reporting of tribal administration spending by January. Here in late March, Brooks still has not complied with that order. Being in contempt six times, what’s one more?
Our men and women in uniform fighting for democracy deserve to see Lumbee men and women standing up for democracy. Lives have been given for American freedoms. What value is freedom if you choose to live under a dictator?
Eric R. Locklear