Tribal Council falls short of quorum

By Bob Shiles -

Larry Townsend

PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council of North Carolina’s regular monthly meeting was cancelled Thursday after not enough members of the 21-member council showed up.

Speaker Bill James Brewington called the meeting “adjourned” after a roll call was taken and it was determined that the council was short of the quorum needed to conduct business.

Brewington did not say when, or if, the meeting would be re-scheduled.

According to the meeting’s agenda, the only business before the council was to consider a veto by Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. of an ordinance titled “An Act to Provide for Tribal Citizenship.” The ordinance was adopted by the council in May.

The vetoed ordinance is a revision of the Tribe’s former enrollment ordinance. It re-identifies Lumbees as “citizens” of the tribe rather than “members” of the tribe, but upholds a previous enrollment regulation that prohibits anyone who fails a test showing knowledge of the Lumbee community from reapplying for tribal membership for three years. It also includes a provision for “citizenship cards” with a 50-year expiration date to be issued free to elders 55 years old and older.

Councilman Larry Townsend, whose chairs the council’s Constitution and Ordinance Committee, argued in May that citizen and citizenship are “stronger terms of identification than member and membership.”

“This makes one more proud. It’s all about who you are,” he said. “You can be a member of a church. You can be a member of Sam’s Club, but being a citizen is something you are born with. It’s like your DNA and spirit. It’s your identity.”

Larry Townsend Townsend

By Bob Shiles

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.

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