PEMBROKE — “Never listen to those who say something can’t be done … Every moment we look back keeps us from moving forward.”
That simple message, along with a call for tribal unity, was delivered Thursday by Sharon Hunt, the tribe’s former chairwoman and an outgoing Tribal Council member. Hunt spoke during the official swearing-in ceremony for seven council members who were elected to the council in November.
Hunt, as a result of her position as vice chair of the council, was appointed as the tribe’s first chairwoman in May following the resignation of former Chairman Purnell Swett. She chose not to run as a candidate to serve the last year of Swett’s term, instead temporarily holding the office until Paul Brooks was elected chairman during a special election held in November.
Hunt could not by tribal law seek another term on the council. Council members can only serve two consecutive three-year terms.
Unity was the theme of Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony held at the Indian Education Resource Center and attended by about 150 tribal members. Both new and incumbent members of the council pledged to work together and with the chairman and executive branch of government to move the tribe forward.
“If we can improve the quality of life of the Lumbee tribe, we also do the same for Robeson County,” said McDuffie Cummings, the former town manager for Pembroke who was elected to represent District 6.
Three of the seven council members sworn-in Thursday by Gary Locklear, chief justice of the Lumbee Supreme Court, took the oath of office for their second three-year terms. They are Linda Revels, District 11; Terry Campbell, District 7; and Charles Bullard, District 5.
The members serving their first three-year terms include: Terry Hunt, District 2; Lesaundri (Lee) Hunt, District 3; Cummings, District 6; and Walter Lowery, District 12.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.