To the Editor,
Paul Brooks and I have absolutely no decision-making authority or involvement in the attempt to recall Harve Godwin as tribal chairman. Our personal views are our own and we both wish the will of the Lumbee to be exercised. Anyone claiming that the Godwin recall is being orchestrated by either of us, is in my opinion a Godwin supporter who is trying to derail the recall.
There are people opposed to the Godwin recall who are interpreting the Lumbee Constitution and tribal crdinances differently than they did when they helped to steer the Brooks recall. I have termed this phenomena “situational ethics,” because these changes in interpretation are not for the betterment of the people. They are for the advancement of individual persons.
As the years move on and our Lumbee People become more and more removed from our tribal governance, I and others are searching our Constitution and ordinances. We are looking to see if and where the founding fathers and mothers directed the Lumbee to involve as many tribal members as possible in tribal governance.
It is the nature of American Indian society to be inclusive. I and many others have operated previously under guidance that the Lumbee Constitution prohibited certain folks while giving preference to others. That is not the nature of the Lumbee, nor should it be the custom of our tribal governance.
The ultimate power of governance was placed in the Lumbee People. It therefore is logical that the founders were guided by a premise to include as many as possible in the decision-making of our tribe. I welcome the day that all Lumbee recognize and receive benefits of tribal governance
After 16 years, we are finding the areas, policies and practices that prohibit participation. As we move toward 2018 and electing a new tribal chairman, let it be an individual whose arms stretch wide enough to welcome all tribal members and whose word is proven to be truth. Let a leader step forward whose heart is with the Lumbee People.
Our tribal governance will soon celebrate two decades. Let that celebration be a time of accord characterized by as much tribal member involvement as the will of our Lumbee People commands.
God bless the people of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.