To the Editor,
Throughout my entire political career, I have tried to maintain a relationship with the Lumbee tribal government that would ensure that I would not be accused of trying to underly influence tribal policy. Yet I have responded favorably when tribal official sought my assistance.
Now at this critical time in our government history, I feel I must voice my opinion on the upcoming tribal chair election. I wish to state that I am not seeking nor do I desire an appointed or elected position with the tribe.
The newly elected chair will initially have two critical duties, in addition to providing guidance to the board. First the chair must nominate an administrator that is competent and capable of effectively carrying out the plans and policies of the tribal board and stand ready to assist in removing that person if warranted.
The second duty is to lead the process of Lumbee federal recognition. That requires a chair who can gain support and work with those in opposition to Lumbee recognition to the end that the most favorable process proceeds forward.
The next tribal chair must be a person with the ability and aptitude to meet, greet, brief, and influence leaders throughout the state and nation and especially in Washington, D.C. This is paramount when seeking federal recognition. A leader must be knowledgeable of tribal history, conversant on present issues, know who the real players are and have the ability to function at times with unenthusiastic state and federal officials.
Having personally considered all the candidates, I am confident that Paul Brooks best fills that task. He has significant experience in business, is the chair of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs, member of the Golden Leaf Foundation Board and has prior experience on the Robeson County school board.
Paul’s ability to know and interact with the key players, for and against Lumbee federal recognition will allow the tribe to have its best opportunity at gaining recognition.
The battle for federal recognition is such a hard-fought endeavor. Therefore, it behooves all the Lumbee voters to join forces and put our best chair candidate forward and in that effort I believe Paul Brooks is the best person for the job.
Attorney at law
Former state representative