PEMBROKE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks, several staff members and at least one member of the 21-member Tribal Council have spent the last few days in Daytona, Fla., Gary Strickland, a tribal spokesman confirmed Thursday, but it’s unclear what the trip entailed.
According to Strickland, the tribal leaders, who were to return to Robeson County on Thursday, were in Florida for a “strategic planning” session. They were not attending a conference, he said.
The Robesonian learned late Thursday afternoon that the group made a stop in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. No information was available this morning concerning what business the tribe members were conducting in Washington.
Strickland declined to answer a reporter’s questions about the specific purpose of the trip, who attended, or how much the trip cost and how it was financed. He only would say that the tribe would put out an official statement about what took place at the session sometime next week.
“We will make a statement later,” Strickland said. “I have nothing to say at this time.”
Tony Hunt, the tribe’s administrator, did not return a reporter’s phone call for information pertaining to the trip.
The council member who attended the session, The Robesonian has learned, was Jan Lowery, who holds one of the three seats representing District 7.
Council members contacted Thursday by The Robesonian said they were unaware that Brooks, tribal employees and Lowery were in Florida to conduct any kind of tribal business.
“I haven’t heard about that. I’m not aware of it, but I’m going to look into it. If I find out anything I will let you know,” Councilman McDuffie Cummings told The Robesonian.
Councilman Terry Campbell spoke out strongly against the administration holding such a session and not informing all members of the council. Campbell said that there is a tribal ordinance that specifically states that if one council member can attend such an informational or planning session session that relates to tribal business, all council members are permitted to attend.
“One would have to wonder why others on the council were not informed about this trip,” Campbell said. “What was the purpose of the meeting and what kind of strategy was discussed?
“Who was the council member, or members, who attended this meeting? Does the council member, or members, who attended this meeting intend to present a written report to the other council members telling them what this meeting was all about?”