To the Editor,
The tribal election of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina scheduled for Nov. 13 will elect a tribal chairman for a three-year term. Also, seven of the 21 Tribal Council positions are up for election. The 21 Tribal Council positions represent 14 tribal districts.
The Lumbee Constitution does not authorize the number of Tribal Council members to differ from the number of districts. In fact the Lumbee Constitution specifically requires 21 of each and was approved by the Lumbee people to have this one- man, one-vote legislative body. The current Tribal Council configuration violates that requirement.
I have requested that the Tribal Supreme Court stop the Tribal Election Board and Tribal Council from conducting Tribal Council elections that continue to violate our Lumbee Constitution. I have asked that the November election elect a tribal chairman and allow tribal members to vote on a constitutional amendment that returns our Tribal Council to one-man, one-vote and reduces the Tribal Council from 21 to seven members. I propose electing the new seven-member Tribal Council in January.
Our tribal government has been broken for some time as a result of personal agendas. Our tribal government should comply with the collective will of the Lumbee people as set forth in the Lumbee Constitution. To continue to elect a fraudulent Tribal Council is almost as ridiculous as the press recently given our tribe by the Tribal Council search for the mysterious $18 million.
Candidates for office on the 21-member Tribal Council should be refunded filing fees and consider running in the January election that will set our tribal government back on track. Those not supporting a government that complies with the Lumbee Constitution might not serve our tribe well as elected officials.
The American Indian student organizations at Tthe University of North Carolina at Pembroke are collecting signatures on the petition to allow amending the Lumbee Constitution. These young people are actively working today for a better tomorrow. Let’s all support our shared future. Petition booths will be available at Pembroke Day and at Peace In The Park this week.
Eric R. Locklear