PEMBROKE — At least one member of the Lumbee Tribal Council says that the tribe’s chairman is moving in the right direction to promote “unity” among the tribe’s administrative and legislative branches.
Council Speaker Pearline Revels said Tuesday that she liked with what Chairman Paul Brooks had to say Monday in his State of the Tribe address. As required by the tribe’s constitution, the chairman must issue the annual address to the tribal membership during the first week of July.
“I was pleased,” Revels said. “He is trying to promote unity.”
On Monday, Brooks also introduced to the council his proposed $13 million budget for the tribe’s upcoming fiscal year that begins in October. He praised the Tribal Council for recently approving the tribe’s Indian Housing Plan for 2012-13, a plan that is necessary for the tribe to receive its annual $13 million housing allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“I applaud the Tribal Council for its diligence in passing the recent Indian Housing Plan,” Brooks said in his address. “The IHP is the basis for the tribal budget, outlining the tribal needs to our funding agency, and forecasts goals and objectives to meet those needs.”
The budget now is in the hands of the council. Members have the chance to review and make changes to the financial plan before a final budget is adopted.
“It’s budget time and time for us (administration and council) to come up with something all of us can live with,” Revels said. “We will probably make some changes, but I don’t anticipate there will be any major changes from the (chairman’s) proposal.”
According to Brooks, the council worked with the administration to come up with a plan for funding the tribe’s housing rehabilitation efforts at about $5 million. This was done, he said, without reducing other HUD-funded services, including those for veterans, elders and children.
“This was a challenge, but one that the council and this administration through collaborative effort was able to deliver …,” Brooks said. “This collaborative effort, providing services to our people, is the purpose of government.”
Brooks went on to talk about the tribe’s continuous struggle to deal with economic distress and disparities in such areas as health and education. He said that the Lumbee government is fulfilling its duties to the people.
“Our housing department provides a direct impact to the housing industry through capital improvements and additions,” he said. “This means jobs, paychecks and opportunities for citizens of this area. As good stewards, while assisting tribal members with eradication of substandard housing conditions, we are creating a rising tide that lifts all ships.”
Brooks in his brief address called on Lumbee leaders to be “visionaries” during the upcoming budget review.
“Let us be visionaries, looking for new innovative ways to expand tribal programs rather than sidestepping our responsibilities to the Lumbee people,” he said. “It’s time for rebirth. If we are to attract new partners, we must remember the ways of our elders. We must be mindful that we are all related; that we are family; and if the tribe is to move forward we must move together in the same direction.”
Brooks said that to move the tribe forward, he pledges to communicate more with members of the council.
“This tribe cannot continue to allow ourselves to get into disputes, segmenting our society. The council has done a great job at listening to our elders, veterans and youth, and has risen each time to the challenge of meeting their needs,” he said.
Brooks was referring to disagreements that have pitted himself and his administration against some council members.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.