To the Editor,
If you beat around the bush, all you do is kill the grass.
Members of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina have re-elected Paul Brooks as tribal chairman with 52 percent of the vote cast.
The 21 members of the Tribal Council are not spending a lot of time congratulating Brooks. They have returned to their very public refusal to work with our chairman.
It’s time for the bullying and the arguing to end if the members of our tribe are to ever be “fully recognized” by our own elected officials. Our tribal government has been put into place to serve our people. If elected officials are refusing to work with the people’s choice as tribal chairman, then they are refusing to work as the people would have them do.
When elected officials of our tribal government stop working for our people, the Lumbee Constitution provides for recall of elected officials. Generally speaking any Tribal Council member may be recalled by his or her district with less than 50 votes from their district.
Our tribal members have made their choice. Now Tribal Council has to either support Brooks or face recall by their individual districts. Tribal Council cannot be allowed to continue to block the road of progress for our people. Furthermore, Brooks can’t heal wounds until the bleeding stops.
As we are sitting around the Thanksgiving table, lets discuss what blocks the progress of our people. Let’s define what steps need to be taken to stop the bleeding that is draining our tribal government and the interest of our people in our own governance. Let’s decide what steps we must take to bring all tribal members on board so that we can move our tribal government forward.
Moving forward will require that we adopt a focus for the future that is measured in years and decades, not in days and months. This view will help us to be stronger. When we as a people think this way and when our leaders collaborate this way, then we will get beyond that bush and arrive at a garden of prosperity.
Eric R. Locklear