To the Editor,
In our homes in today’s economy, each of us has to tighten our belts and make the most of every dollar. The federal government sends $13 million to our community each year to provide safe homes for Lumbee tribal members. Latest count is that the 21-member Tribal Council spends half a million of those dollars just on themselves each year.
The 21-member Tribal Council each year is paid $138,600. We could make more of those same housing dollars by reducing the 21-member council and using the money saved to make more safe homes for tribal members.
Tightening the 21 notches on the belt will first produce safe homes for more tribal families. That should always be the primary goal in using federal housing funds. Reduction in those notches will have a second benefit in hiring men and women with hammers and nails to make those safe homes. Third, local retailers will benefit in selling those hammers and nails to those workers. Fourth, local restaurants will feed those workers when they get hungry.
Fifth, local businesses will insure and install accessories in those safe homes. Sixth, local towns, cities and counties will benefit from water and sewer bills paid to maintain those safe homes. Seventh, more food will be bought at local grocery stores to feed those families in safe homes. Eighth, Walmart will see more light bulbs and tissue needed by those safe homes. Ninth, men and women working in all these businesses will buy more fuel for their vehicles going from their safe homes to work. Tenth, more teachers will be needed to teach the stronger generation of children who will grow up in those safe homes.
Now, which dollar goes further? Is it the dollar that buys Pearlene, Louise or the wives of Tribal Council members new clothes from Raleigh for their trips to Alaska and Nebraska? Or is the dollar that builds the safe home and makes the jobs for more Lumbee people here in Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson and Scotland counties?
In my mind the safe home option is the better choice. In that option, Lumbee people actually receive something for the federal funds designated to them. With the travel option, Lumbee people don’t even get T-shirts from the travels of the travel council.
Lumbees, sign the petition “WE ARE DONE WITH 21.”
Eric R. Locklear